Skip to main content

Does the Megalodon Shark Live in the Mariana Trench?

  • Author:
  • Updated date:

With interests in science and nature, the author explores topics from a unique and sometimes controversial perspective.

Does the Megalodon Shark live in the Mariana Trench, deep in the darkest part of the ocean?

Does the Megalodon Shark live in the Mariana Trench, deep in the darkest part of the ocean?

Is Megalodon in the Mariana Trench?

No. It's a hopeful idea, but modern science tells us that the Megalodon Shark went extinct thousands of years ago. So why do some people think it could still exist in the Mariana Trench and other deep places in the ocean?

This is partly due to some famous novels written on the subject, but the logic here sort of makes sense. Megalodon was a 60-foot shark that hunted near shore and fed on large whales and other marine creatures. Obviously, if such a creature still existed it would be visible and well known. This fact alone is enough for most researchers to conclude that Megalodon is extinct.

So, believers reason, if Megalodon still exists it must have evolved to live somewhere it is rarely seen. The Mariana Trench is about as remote as it gets, and even a massive shark would be very hard to find.

As we will see, there are a few problems with this story.

What Is the Mariana Trench?

The Mariana Trench is a massive canyon in the Earth's crust and the deepest part of the ocean. Located in the Western Pacific, it runs for over 1,500 miles but averages only a bit more than 40 miles across.

The Mariana Trench was created by a geological process called subduction. In this case, the Pacific tectonic plate is moving very slowly to the west, and pressure is pushing it down into the Earth's crust where it meets the Philippine Plate. Far to the east, the new ocean floor is created by volcanic activity.

So, the Pacific Ocean floor is like a big conveyor belt, slowly marching westward over time, where it is recycled into the depths of the Mariana Trench. This makes the ocean floor in the Mariana Trench the oldest in the world, dating back around 180 million years.

At its deepest, at a spot called Challenger Deep, the Marina Trench measures over 35,000 feet. By comparison, that's about 6,000 feet deeper than Mount Everest is tall.

Is it really possible a shark could live at those depths? Does anything live at those depths?

Deep-sea creatures like the Lanternfish are likely way too small to sustain a Megalodon Shark.

Deep-sea creatures like the Lanternfish are likely way too small to sustain a Megalodon Shark.

What Lives in the Mariana Trench?

For Megalodon to live in the Marina Trench it would require an abundant food supply.

Humans have only traveled to the bottom of Challenger Deep twice. It is a forbidding landscape, and not very hospitable to a predatory shark. At that depth, the only life is tiny amphipods, which wouldn't even rate as a snack for Megalodon.

Starting at around 13,000 feet we see deep-sea fish begin to emerge, but these too are much too small to sustain a creature as large as Megalodon.

To find anything close to a prey item for a 60-foot Megalodon we need to come up to around 8,000 feet, which is the deepest whales are known to dive. A Sperm Whale would surely make a meal for a Megalodon.

Scroll to Continue

Read More From Exemplore

In fact, one of Megalodon's ancient competitors was a massive predatory Sperm Whale with foot-long teeth known as Livyatan Melvillei.

There's a problem with this. If Megalodon still exists and feeds on whales, we'd see evidence on whales that survived attacks, just as we see evidence of great white shark attacks on lucky seals that managed to escape.

How Deep Is the Mariana Trench?

The Search for the Megalodon Shark

So how does a coastal predator go from munching on whales, pinnipeds, and massive turtles near shore to eating deep-diving creatures in the Marina Trench?

One possibility is that a small population of Megalodon Sharks had already evolved to live at those depths before the larger population of Megalodon went extinct. Therefore, when the environmental changes occurred that led to the extinction of the Megalodon Shark, the population that lived at great depths continued to thrive while the sharks who lived in shallower water died off.

We see this possibility at other locations where Megalodon is said to still exist. The Sea of Cortez is a body of water between the Baja Peninsula and Mexico. It is rich in sea life, with several species of large whales in residence. At its deepest, it is estimated at nearly 10,000 feet. Stories of massive sharks have circulated in the region for decades, and some believe the Megalodon Shark still lurks in the depths.

Great white sharks are frequent visitors to the Sea of Cortez as well, and some have been known to dive to surprising depths. Can we make any comparisons between Megalodon and great whites, or any other living sharks?

Great White Sharks have been recorded diving as deep as 4,000 feet.

Great White Sharks have been recorded diving as deep as 4,000 feet.

Megalodon Compared to Other Sharks

The Megamouth Shark is a massive fish reaching 20 feet in length or more. Despite its impressive size, it remained unknown until 1976. One of the reasons is because it is vertically migratory, meaning it only comes anywhere near the surface at night. In the daytime, it dives down to 500 feet or deeper.

If the Megamouth Shark remained hidden for so long simply because it dove to 500 feet for most of the day, what chances do we have of finding a Megalodon that may live at 3,000 feet?

Do any sharks live that deep? While the largest sharks in the world are well-known due to their near-surface behaviors, there are others who are much more reclusive.

The Portuguese Dogfish is a species of Sleeper Shark known to survive at depths of up to 12,000 feet.

The Pacific Sleeper Shark and Greenland Shark are huge animals reaching over 20 feet in length which can live at depths of up to 9,000 feet.

Even the great white shark has been recorded diving to depths of 4,000 feet.

So, there seems to be nothing preventing a Megalodon from living in the dark of the ocean, should it have reason to do so. However, this also tells us that Megalodon doesn't need the depths of the Mariana Trench to stay hidden.

More to the point, since no sharks exist below 12,000 feet, and no large prey items, it seems highly unlikely that Megalodon would have evolved to live at such depth.

While that may be disheartening to Megalodon believers, in a way it's also encouraging. Since the average depth of the ocean is around 14,000 feet, that means the Megalodon Shark, even if it has evolved to live in very deep water, could, in theory, exist in numerous places around the world.

But that brings us back to our original problem: If a 60-foot predatory shark is still out there, and still lives around the world, we should see the evidence.

Is Megalodon in the Mariana Trench?

Is it really possible that small populations of Megalodon Sharks evolved to feed on prey in very deep water, and because of this managed to avoid extinction? Could this remnant population of Megalodon Shark still thrive today, far out of sight of humans?

Probably not. There's no food for it down there, and no other shark species are known to thrive that deep. It is an interesting idea, but unfortunately not one with any scientific merit, as of yet anyway.

This is all food for thought. Ultimately, it's up to you to decide what you think is possible.

Does the Megalodon Shark still live, deep in the Mariana Trench?

Your opinion: Does Megalodon Live in the Mariana Trench?

Questions & Answers

Question: Is Megalodon bigger than a blue whale?

Answer: Megalodon was the largest shark that ever lived, but it probably wasn’t bigger than a blue whale. We can only say <i>probably</i> because so little is known about the appearance of megalodon.

Researchers compare the sparse fossil remains, which consist only of teeth and vertebrae, with living animals such as the great white shark to estimate the length of megalodon. Best guesses put the largest specimens at about 60 feet, with the typical individual at around 40 feet, or about the size of a whale shark.

This made megalodon around the same size as the biggest whales of its day, but much smaller than a modern blue whale, which can reach 100 feet. In fact, blue whales are the largest animals ever to have lived on planet Earth.

However, researchers in the past once thought megalodon could reach a similar length as a blue whale. So, it is possible science may once again reverse its position on maximum megalodon size, if or when more information becomes available.

Still, a blue whale can weigh close to 200 tons, where megalodon estimates land between 50 and 100 tons. That means even a 100-foot meg may not have weighed as much as a blue whale.

Comments

ghoast on June 10, 2020:

hi megalodon are the best animal in the world

Phantom on March 14, 2020:

Yes. It is possible that megalodon is still alive, looking at it from a biblical point of view, because of the flood any prehistoric sea creatures to still be alive. As for why we can not find them the ocean is a big place, plus we have not found all the animals on earth. In fact at one time giant squads we're myth and orangutans were the same as Bigfoot or the yeti. So we are finding new animals all the time. From single celled organisms to sea creatures and more. Besides there has been sighting of ol' Meg, yeah you can't trust everything, bbbbbuuuuutttttttt you have to count your losses.

As for where ol' Meg lives perhaps he just roams the seas like a great white. But I don't think it lives in the marina trench the pressure is too much!!!

As for what it eats probably squid, tunia, and maybe whales.

So that's my point of view. No hard feeling.

MasterShell36 on February 07, 2020:

i think the meg lives in the ocens but maby not the mirina trench

Jo jhonson memeber on January 20, 2020:

It could have reproduced and they all stayed down there and ate the squids

aubrey on November 16, 2019:

but even if the mariana trench isn’t its true habitat couldn’t it have adapted to fight extinction ?

Poopypoop on November 05, 2019:

I think the megaladon is still alive but we are very unsafe if it is

mattt on September 16, 2019:

it is still alive till this very day

Kenzie Parker on September 03, 2019:

I believe the Megalodon is still out there but I don’t know for sure because after that meteor hit earth the dinosaurs Went extinct and the Megalodon live in the Marian trench that’s super deep But I don’t know if it Lived or not

The end

bandon cookie on September 03, 2019:

they are still alive

Jake on April 02, 2019:

I hope they still live because it would be extraordinary to see or find one.

Devynn Sullivan on March 03, 2019:

Anything is possible. The coelecanth was supposed to have gone extinct millions of years ago, but they live still.

Victor on February 21, 2019:

You have to take size into consideration. Look at fish. When baby fish are little and young they feed off of the shallows while the larger fish are in the deepest parts of the river way down. Same goes for the Ocean. Why do you think whales and giant squid dive so deep and they aren't even the size of the megalodon. Take even the big mouth shark that wasn't even discovered until 1976 because they normally swim from 400-500 feet under water durring the day and only come up to about 100-200 ft during the night. IF this same behavior is followed by the megalodon when you factor the size it would explain why we haven't discovered them yet if they still exist. 99% of the ocean floor has yet to be discovered so if you want to get cocky and be scientific by saying they are extinct then you have to leave room for the possibility that its possible they may still exist. At one time many parts of the world thought the world was flat so you can see that now we look back and laugh.

MrT on January 01, 2019:

Why not.they said the coelacanth was extinct but they found that they still exist Then there's the photo of the german u boats in south africa in the 1940's that big dorsal fin sticking up near one of the boats while the boats capitan looking on Then there's the google maps picture of a big shark fisherman have seen it so i think it's very possible .the ocean is vast just because we don't see it doesn't mean it's not there

Gabby on November 14, 2018:

Why. A lack of prey

Student on November 06, 2018:

I think that the Megalodon would have evolved to avoid life. I believe that it had innate intelligence to avoid man. After all, could the Megalodons have been the dolphins/apes of ancient times? I believe that it is folly to follow the belief that humans are the only intelligent life on this planet and in this universe.

Graeme on September 04, 2018:

Nothing is impossible. We constantly are discovering species that were declared extinct. Just because we have encountered alien life, does not mean it's not out there. The odds of Earth being the only planet in the whole universe are abysmal. With that logic, doesn't it merit the possibility that something that "did" exist previously still can? Saying it's gone forever is just as ignorant as saying, "I can't see you, therefore you can't see me." Just because our naked eye perceives the Earth flat, does not mean it is.

In conclusion, until you can map the entirety of the ocean simultaneously and with detail, we cannot KNOW anything. Things move and what may be there one day could be somewhere else another.

Jonny Garcia on August 30, 2018:

The Megalodon is alive

Thomas Schoen on August 10, 2018:

I think that would be a wonderful site from land to see a Megalodon shark. So cool. Take a self-e.

Nathan on August 10, 2018:

I don't think this shark is still out there because there is no real evidence that this big shark is still out there. I really want real evidence that this shark is still in the oceans somewhere so I could learn.

Saundra J Schoen on August 01, 2018:

Anything is possible. I still think that it's maybe be true. It would be cool.

Doha (Beta) on June 21, 2018:

There is lots of pollution discoverved in the trench

Stever on May 12, 2018:

It is possible for the Megalodon to live because the Sperm Whale dives into deep waters and could be prey to the Megalodon

I BELIEVE on May 03, 2018:

i believe the megalodon still lives today

IHeartSharks on May 02, 2018:

I think that the megalodon has been right under are noses all these years

isaiah on April 18, 2018:

the megalodon shark can still live in the depths. When a species dives really deep into the ocean there is small amounts of oxygen now this might sound a little strange but the closer to the surface they are the more they will eat because oxygen levels are higher than that of deeper depths. if they needed at least one whale a day to survive without starving then if they went into the trench then there oxygen levels drop causing them to have to eat a lot less allowing them to eat small amounts of food and surviving. the only way we know is by searching the Mariana trench.

IHeartSharks on April 12, 2018:

if the megalodon is out there its gotta be in the Mariana trench, just because it was a live 200000 years ago doesn't mean its still extinct who knows it could none has had PROOF that its EXTINCT.

IHeartSharks on April 11, 2018:

I think it s possible that this creature is still a live at least 99% in the bottom of the Mariana trench with all stuff i have read that is where the last Megalodon shark really is.

Mega shark on April 08, 2018:

I think it might be in the Pacific Ocean

Skinny Thicc Boi on January 30, 2018:

Before 2000, a probe was dropped of a research ship to take water samples at lower depths in the Mariana trench. When lifting the probe back up from the depths, it caught on an invisible object even though there was nothing between the ship and the sea floor. After 3 hours, the probe finally came free and rose to the surface. When the probe surfaced and was inspected on the deck, enormous gorge marks were found in the metalwork and multiple cables were torn. When later disassembled, 2 enormous teeth were found embedded in the bodywork and were later identified as the belonging to the enormous, dangerous and questionable extinct MEGALODON.

idiot on January 25, 2018:

I don't know how people think the megalodon lives in the trench why would an gigantic shark wanna live in the trench away from all the whales and large food sources and I don't even think it could have adapted to the conditions there as well and sadly it probably died out

hailey on November 25, 2017:

I think this is real I belive in this

Megalodonreseacher on November 21, 2017:

i think the Megalodon is alive and if it did live in the trench the metabolism from the lack of oxygen. it has the possibility to have eat'n small fish and survived and if so it would be smaller compared to its normal size because of pressure and it would be very sensitive to light. it would also be able to have its normal body temperature sense of heat vents in the Mariana. this is my favorite prehistoric creature and i will keep doing research.

AceGamer36 on November 08, 2017:

it is living in mariana trench cause they explored the mariana trench with a water craft and have left a big megalodon teeth at the water craft

thicc boi on October 12, 2017:

i think its real and am going to fine one

twilight on September 23, 2017:

i think it's real

Person on September 16, 2017:

People have found a tooth the size of a palm in the mariana trench area.

Alinah on July 29, 2017:

I think that the Megalodon shark still exists but not necessarily in the Mariana Trench.