NATIONAL MEGALODON DAY | JUNE 15
On the 15th of June, National Megalodon Day teaches us about the most massive shark that ever lived!
The Megalodon swam the Earth’s oceans for 20 million years during the Cenozoic Era. Their mouths spanned 8 to 11 feet wide and were filled with rows of sharp teeth. With a bite force of over 40,000 pounds per square inch, a maximum weight of over 60 tons, and serrated teeth measuring near 7 inches, their prey did not stand a chance.
Megalodon’s dentition consisted of 276 serrated teeth.
They also had up to 6 rows of teeth called files.
Megalodon ruled their watery habitats, eating large marine vertebrates. The phosphate deposits currently mined near Aurora, North Carolina (also known as Lee Creek), produce some of the finest and well-preserved examples of fossilized Megalodon teeth in the world. Numerous other Miocene and Pliocene aged fossils, including the whales Megalodon hunted, are also found along with the Megalodon’s magnificent teeth.
Dentition describes the typical arrangement, development, number, and kind of teeth in a species’ mouth at any given age.
Teeth help identify a fossil and are of particular interest where the Megalodon is concerned.
At the end of their era, the Megalodon grew to enormous sizes and dominated the oceans. Food was likely plentiful. As the Ice Age came, however, competition for survival may have become fierce. Their prey began to dwindle, and other species, like carnivorous whales, put up a good fight. It is also possible that the rise of its rival, the modern-day Great White Shark, was the catalyst for Megalodon’s extinction. Due to Megalodon’s large size, it could have been out-competed by the smaller, faster Great White Shark.
Based on tooth size, the Megalodon Shark grew to 60 feet in length which is longer than a school bus!
The Megalodon disappeared from the fossil record near the end of the Pliocene Epoch (some 3.6 to 2.58 million years ago), and when it did, amazing things began to happen. The fossil record and modern history show that whales and other sea animals grew larger. Without the mega predator, perhaps favorable conditions permitted survival long enough to thrive and grow to their larger sizes.
What does all this mean for today’s sea life? Will another predator grow to dominate the seas? Or has the Megalodon’s time come and gone, leaving behind only a fossil record for us to explore? Celebrate and explore National Megalodon Day to learn more!
HOW TO OBSERVE NATIONAL MEGALODON DAY
National Megalodon Day encourages you to learn more about the “All-Time Alpha of Apex Predators” by visiting fossil and dinosaur museums near you, especially ones like the Aurora Fossil Museum in Aurora, North Carolina. Other ways to learn more include:
- Take a trip to visit the Aurora Fossil Museum and Dig the Past in the museum’s Fossil Park.
- If you live in North Carolina, sign up to get the AFM license plate.
- Engage with the Aurora Fossil Museum by liking their social media pages.
- View the AFM’s website (aurorafossilmuseum.org) for more information on the museum and the North Carolina State Fossil, Megalodon.
- Read books or watch a documentary about the Megalodon.
- Discover paleontology and the science behind fossils.
Share your celebrations by using #NationalMegalodonDay on social media.
NATIONAL MEGALODON DAY HISTORY
The 15th of June is designated as National Megalodon Day to honor the day that the Aurora Fossil Museum (AFM) first opened to the public, the 15th of June, 1978.
The Aurora Fossil Museum is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit science museum and education resource center whose mission is to educate the public about paleontology in an engaging manner while emphasizing the natural and cultural history of Eastern North Carolina. The AFM educates the public through exhibits, interactive inquiry-based activities, outreach programs, summer camps, events, field studies, and the Aurora Fossil Festival. The main museum houses a wide variety of Miocene and Pliocene fossils discovered in the neighboring phosphate mine, including some of the best Megalodon teeth in the world! The Megalodon is also the ‘Flagship Fossil’ of the AFM, as the mighty Megalodon Shark’s fossilized tooth adorns the museum’s logo!
Dr. Bruce Worf, a longtime supporter of the AFM, with the help of Senator Bill Cook, spearheaded the effort to get the North Carolina Legislature to designate the Aurora Fossil Museum as a North Carolina State Attraction and enact a state attraction license plate featuring the AFM logo, a Megalodon shark tooth. AFM Executive Director Cynthia Crane, with the support of the Aurora Fossil Museum Foundation, Inc. Board of Directors, and Dr. Bruce Worf felt that the 15th of June would be the perfect day to celebrate the Aurora Fossil Museum with the designation of National Megalodon Day.
The Registrar at National Day Calendar proclaimed the first National Megalodon Day on June 15, 2021.