By Staff Reporter, Aug 05, 2013 10:32 AM EDT
(PHOTO CREDIT: creative commons) A scale map showing the size of the prehistoric shark known as Megalodon.
It's Shark Week again! The Discovery Channel has put together seven days and nights of shark filled shows that will teach you all about one of the ocean's top predators. Most of the Discovery Channel shows have to do with research and the science behind sharks, their feeding habits and why they attack people. Discovery has thrown in a "documentary" about a recent Megalodon attack.
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"Megalodon The Monster Shark Lives" tells the story of a fishing vessel that was attacked in April 2013 off of the coast of South Africa. Everyone on board was killed and a marine biologist heads out to discover what kind of shark could cause that much death and damage.
The Megalodon was a prehistoric shark that roamed the oceans of the earth two million years ago. This monstrous shark weighted up to 77 tons and grew up to 60 feet in length. Jaws and fossils belonging to the once great shark have been found all over the world.
People living in ancient times would collect the teeth of a Megalodon and their legends and myths were filled with stories about large sharks. Could this prehistoric beast still roam the oceans today? It is true that much of our oceans remain unexplored but a shark 60-feet in length might be hard to miss.
The Discovery Channel documentary starts off with a group of friends making a home video while fishing. They are laughing and joking about catching a big fish. After about two hours one of the men fishing gets upset over losing a big catch.
Moments later the camera shakes and you see the people onboard get tossed around. Water pours over them and the scream for their lives.
The following day all of Cape Town learns about the boat attack and the media is on scene. Authorities in South Africa give an official statement saying a large whale breached and landed on the boat killing all on board. Officials said the boat was anchored to close to mating whales. They would later retract that statement.
When divers were sent into the water to find the wreckage and hopefully discover the bodies of those killed, they instead found something unexpected. The bodies were never found and footage of the boat shows the vessel was torn in half. Something no whale is capable of doing.
South African officials bring in a marine biologist to try and determine what happened to the people on board the ship. Slowly but steadily pieces start to come together. Stories about disappearances all over the world begin to surface as well as footage showing enormous sharks gliding through the ocean.
The marine biologist and his team enter shark cages and listen to the stories of people who swore they have seen the world's largest shark often nicknamed "The Submarine."
After a week of dives, footage review and the use of a large decoy whale to try and lure "The submarine" out of hiding the conclusion is that the only thing large enough to inflict the type of damage that was done to that fishing vessel is the Megalodon.
Is Megalodon truly lurking in the deepest parts of the ocean waiting for unsuspecting fishing vessels to make a meal out of? No, it is not. Megalodon went extinct two million years ago when the climate change of the Ice Age wiped out its' food source.
"Megalodon The Monster Shark Lives" is a fake documentary similar to Animal Planet's "Mermaids The Body Found." The experts featured in the film are actors; the real life events described in the movie are fiction or based on true events having nothing to do with a large prehistoric shark.
Like Animal Planet's Mermaid special the Discovery Channel tried to keep the hype about Megalodon's existence going by making the possibility of it a topic on the shark week after dark special. The truth is anything is possible but it is highly unlike Megalodon is out there in any other form than a fossil.
Shark Week continues tonight on the Discovery Channel.