Most scientists believe the first sharks came into existence 400 million years ago. That was 200 million years before the Dinosaurs.
Descendants of a small leaf-shaped fish, sharks, began to increase their size during the Paleogene period starting from the end of Cretaceous or around the same time Dinosaurs went extinct to the beginning of Neogene, spanning over 40 million years.
Somewhere along with that evolutionary progression, the ancestor to megalodon first appeared. Contrary to popular belief, megalodon is not related to the great white shark.
They are descendants of different ancestors, which may have been in direct competition for prey. Ultimately megalodon succumbed to natural selection, but its tales live on.
In the Sant Ocean Hall of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C., you will find yourself face to face with the ancient giant of seas.
At 52-foot large, the life-size replica of an extinct shark has its mouth open so that you can see just how large the teeth are.
As one of the largest predators to have ever lived in the ocean, megalodon would have been a fantastical sea-dweller.
10 /10 Otodus Obliquus
The oldest confirmed ancestor of megalodon is a 55-million-year-old shark known as Otodus Obliquus, which could grow to reach 33-foot long.
The lineage could be stretched further back to a 105-million-year-old shark called Cretalamna appendiculate, a smaller predator measuring around 9-foot long.
Assuming that was indeed the case, the evolutionary history of megalodon would have lasted more than 100 million years.
Newer discoveries of fossils suggest that megalodon lived alongside the ancestor of great white sharks. Some scientists believe the two sharks were both apex predators in direct competition with each other.
9 /10 Physical Appearance
No one knows precisely how the megalodon looked like. Reconstructions from fossils are about as accurate as they can be.
Most existing replicas show quite some resemblance between megalodon and great white shark; if anything, the former was like an oversized version of the latter.
Now scientists know the comparison is incorrect due to different lineage. Megalodon most likely had a flatter jaw, shorter nose, longer pectoral-fins, and of course, larger size and weight.
People thought megalodon and great white sharks were related for a long time, but evidence suggests otherwise.