The tropical Pacific is one of the least productive areas of any ocean. Sedimentation rate to the seafloor 4km below us is barely measurable, in the order of a few millimetres per 1000 years (influenced a bit by topography). Our trawl, and a few hours of video have revealed lots of shark teeth on or in the mud on the seafloor. This might be unremarkable, after all sharks lose their teeth all the time…but many of these teeth are huge…

These huge teeth are between 3 and 16 million years old, and yet they are just sitting there, on the seafloor as though they’d dropped yesterday. This really illustrates how low the supply of sediment is to the seafloor and how difficult it must be to make a living for the animals that we’re finding.

These teeth come from a species of shark called Carcharodon megalodon. It was similar to the well-known Great White Shark of today (Carcharodon carcharius) but could grow to around 18m long, ate whales and could weigh as much as 50 tons. Since sharks have a skeleton mostly made of cartilage, fossils of other bones are quite rare so it’s difficult to know exactly how big Megalodon might have been. Taking information from modern sharks, it’s estimated that a Megalodon would have had 250 – 300 teeth in a mouth 2 metres wide!

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