Megalodon may have been killed off by an exploding star

If the megalodon didn't cause itself to go extinct, it may have been the work of an ancient exploding star, a shocking new study theorizes. Put forth by researchers Adrian Melott, Franciole Marinho and Laura Paulucci and published in the scientific journal Astrobiology, the study suggests that "one or more supernova" approximately 2.6 million years ago may … Continue reading “Megalodon may have been killed off by an exploding star”

If the megalodon didn't cause itself to go extinct, it may have been the work of an ancient exploding star, a shocking new study theorizes.

Put forth by researchers Adrian Melott, Franciole Marinho and Laura Paulucci and published in the scientific journal Astrobiology, the study suggests that "one or more supernova" approximately 2.6 million years ago may have caused a mass extinction of a great number of marine megafauna, including the feared megalodon.

"We find that the radiation dose from the muons will exceed the total present surface dose from all sources at depths up to 1 [kilometer] and will persist for at least the lifetime of marine megafauna," the study's abstract reads. "It is reasonable to hypothesize that this increase in radiation load may have contributed to a newly documented marine megafaunal extinction at that time."

MEGALODON MAY HAVE GONE EXTINCT FOR THIS SHOCKING REASON

“One of the extinctions that happened 2.6 million years ago was Megalodon,” Melott said in a statement. “Imagine the Great White Shark in ‘Jaws,’ which was enormous — and that’s Megalodon, but it was about the size of a school bus. They just disappeared about that time. So, we can speculate it might have something to do with the muons. Basically, the bigger the creature is the bigger the increase in radiation would have been.”

Speaking with Motherboard, Melott said the radiation from the exploding stars, which could have been just 160 light years from Earth, may have been too much for the Earth's atmosphere and its creatures to handle.

“All of the historical supernovae that we know about over the last couple thousand years were much further away, so the effects would be tiny compared to this,” Melott told the news outlet.

Melott added that the muon spike could have caused mutations and cancers, especially for larger creatures not used to the levels of radiation from the accompanying supernova blast.

“Normally below a few meters [of the ocean surface], water really shields a lot of radiation but it wouldn’t shield the muons," Melott said. “Creatures that are used to being almost isolated from radiation would suddenly get a whole lot. They would be unlikely to have as good of a defense against radiation as land creatures would.”

There is evidence of the supernova, according to a number of research papers. In the aforementioned statement, Melott said he was even told as far back as the 1990s to be on the lookout for iron-60 isotopes, which are remnants of a supernova explosion.

PREHISTORIC SURVIVOR? HOW WE KNOW 'THE MEG' IS DEAD

“As far back as the mid-1990s, people said, ‘Hey, look for iron-60. It’s a telltale because there’s no other way for it to get to Earth but from a supernova.’ Because iron-60 is radioactive, if it was formed with the Earth it would be long gone by now," Melott said in the statement. "So, it had to have been rained down on us. There’s some debate about whether there was only one supernova really nearby or a whole chain of them. I kind of favor a combo of the two — a big chain with one that was unusually powerful and close. If you look at iron-60 residue, there’s a huge spike 2.6 million years ago, but there’s excess scattered clear back 10 million years.”

During the Pleistocene extinction event, many animals larger than 80 pounds went extinct, according to the Illinois State Museum. At roughly 60 feet in length, and a weight approaching 120,000 pounds, megalodons would have been a prime candidate to be affected by the cosmic blast.

NORTH CAROLINA COUPLE SPOT MASSIVE MEGALODON SHARK TOOTH ON BEACH

“There really hasn’t been any good explanation for the marine megafaunal extinction,” Melott said. “This could be one. It’s this paradigm change — we know something happened and when it happened, so for the first time we can really dig in and look for things in a definite way. We now can get really definite about what the effects of radiation would be in a way that wasn’t possible before.”

Earlier this week, another group of researchers theorized that the megalodon may have caused itself to go extinct.

The scientists suggested that its high body temperature (when compared to modern day sharks and a "cooling of ocean temperatures during the Pliocene would have constrained the species to lower latitudes where ocean temperatures were warmer, whilst its preferred prey (e.g., whales) evolved traits to adapt to cooler temperatures of the higher latitudes."

Follow Chris Ciaccia on Twitter @Chris_Ciaccia

Megalodon may have gone extinct for this shocking reason

The megalodon may have been the largest marine predator to ever live, growing up to 60 feet with teeth nearly the size of a standard sheet of paper. But, even more stunning, a new study suggests it succumbed to one foe that caused it to go extinct — itself.

New research presented at Monday's annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union suggests that, specifically, the giant shark's body temperature may have been the culprit. This comes as a surprise as modern-day sharks can self-regulate their body heat and adapt to their environments.

Preliminary tests involving clumped isotope measurements using megalodon teeth and teeth of modern-day sharks suggests that megalodons "maintained a higher body temperature" when compared to great white sharks.

PREHISTORIC SURVIVOR? HOW WE KNOW 'THE MEG' IS DEAD

"While still preliminary, these results may provide clues as to what may have led to the demise of O. megalodon during the Pliocene," an abstract of the research reads. "For example, one hypothesis is that O. megalodon consumed large quantities of prey in order to maintain such a high body temperature."

The abstract continues: "However, cooling of ocean temperatures during the Pliocene would have constrained the species to lower latitudes where ocean temperatures were warmer, whilst its preferred prey (e.g., whales) evolved traits to adapt to cooler temperatures of the higher latitudes. Therefore, large climatic shifts combined with evolutionary limitations may provide the 'smoking gun' for the extinction of the largest shark species to ever roam the planet."

Scientifically known as Otodus megalodon, the largest megalodon tooth ever found was slightly more than 7 inches in length.

Speaking with LiveScience, researcher Michael Griffiths, one of the authors of the paper, said that megalodons may have had body temperatures as high as 95 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. By comparison, ancestors of modern-day mako and great white sharks had temperatures ranging from 68 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit.

NORTH CAROLINA COUPLE SPOT MASSIVE MEGALODON SHARK TOOTH ON BEACH

In addition to reaching up to 60 feet, megalodons are thought to have weighed approximately 120,000 pounds or 60 tons. The species is commonly thought to have gone extinct 2.6 million years ago.

The researchers acknowledged that there "is little agreement as to the primary cause for O. megalodon’s disappearance," but added that either the lack of food or the "environmental change influenced its extinction."

Follow Chris Ciaccia on Twitter @Chris_Ciaccia

South Carolina fisherman hooks 17-foot great white shark: It was a ‘monster’

As a charter fisherman who assists shark experts with their research by hooking and tagging great whites, South Carolinian Chip Michalove has come across a number of impressively-sized sharks throughout the years.

But none were more impressive than the “monster” great white he hooked earlier this week. Michalove told Fox News on Thursday he estimated the massive fish weighed 3,500 pounds and was roughly 17 feet in length.

FISHERMAN CRITICIZED BY FELLOW ANGLERS, ANIMAL ACTIVISTS OVER 1,400-POUND MARLIN CATCH

Michalove hooked the shark, a female, at roughly 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday off the coast of Hilton Head. He was accompanied by Jon Dodd of the Atlantic Shark Institute at the time.

Michalove, who also tags sharks on behalf of experts at the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, wrote on Facebook the shark “spit the hook after a 15 [minute] battle.”

“After she threw the hook and came partially out of the water twice, she turned and chased the bait back to the boat as we reeled it back in,” he continued. “We dropped the bait back to her, but she wised up. She wouldn’t give us another shot.”

A roughly 10-foot great white Michalove hooked and tagged Tuesday. (Chip Michalove/ Outcast Sport Fishing)

“It was a bittersweet day because we did land and tag a 10-footer, but I can’t help but think about the one I lost,” he said. He also hooked a shark later that afternoon but lost it. He told The Island Packet he and Dodd were too tired from the battles with the two other two sharks, which is why they were unable to tag the third.

Michalove — who is “obsessed with sharks” and has been “ever since [he] was little and watched ‘Jaws’”— told Fox News this was only the second time he has hooked three great white sharks in one outing; the first time being a couple of years ago.

“To get three in one day was pretty surprising; it’s extremely rare,” he said.

MINNESOTA TEEN'S MONSTROUS NORTHERN PIKE CATCH BREAKS STATE RECORD

The fisherman, who is the charter captain at Outcast Sport Fishing, said he finds the most great whites off the Hilton Head coast during the winter months. It’s for this reason he’s confident the 17-footer who escaped him Tuesday will return.

“I’ll have another shot,” he said confidently. “She’ll be back.”

Madeline Farber is a Reporter for Fox News. You can follow her on Twitter @MaddieFarberUDK.

Shocking video shows boy, 8, being bitten by shark

A dramatic video showed an 8-year-old Utah boy being bitten by a nurse shark while vacationing in the Bahamas.

Asher Jones of Sandy, Utah, was on an excursion on the island where they could swim with animals including sharks earlier this month, FOX 13 reported.

Jones’ mother, Christine, was filming the child’s experience with the sharks when screams are heard and a shark was seen latching on to the boy’s back.

“It was quite terrifying,” Christine Jones said. “My whole world kind of stopped.”

The boy described the bite like “an alien with a bunch of fingers,” saying it felt “super weird.”

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The boy’s father was nearby and able to grab the shark, which then released its grip on the boy before swimming away.

“I was able to grab onto the shark as it grabbed onto his back and my left-hand fingers went into his gills and my right hand touched on one of the fins, but as soon as I did that the shark let him go,” Jeremy Jones told FOX 13.

Emergency services were nearby to help the boy, who ended up not needing stitches for the bite.

The family said they have spoken to shark experts to understand what happened. The experts told the family that nurse sharks should be secluded from people when they’re fed, FOX 13 reported.

UTAH TEACHER ALLEGEDLY KILLS EX-HUSBAND’S GIRLFRIEND IN FRONT OF 3-YEAR-OLD KIDS

“There should probably be a little more information given as to shark interactions just to keep tourists safe, people's children safe,” Christine Jones said.

Asher Jones isn’t too upset by the incident and is considering swimming with sharks in the future.

“I think it was amazing and crazy. Like I think I will swim with sharks again. Oh my gosh, I’m so lucky that happened to me,” he said.

Kathleen Joyce is a breaking/trending news producer for FoxNews.com. You can follow her at @Kathleen_Joyce8 on Twitter.

South Carolina shark attack survivor shares terrifying video of incident: I heard the ‘crunch of my head’

When South Carolina resident Will Krause embarked on a spearfishing trip over the summer, he never expected a fun and sun-filled trip would result in a near-death experience.

The Greenville resident took to Facebook Thursday to share the harrowing details of the moment a 7-foot reef shark charged at him, attacking his head and neck.

“This Thanksgiving, I'm thankful (more than ever) for God's kindness & protection over our family,” Krause began. “[Three] months ago (Aug 20, 2018), I survived a shark attack to the head while spearfishing in the Abacos. I was 25 feet below the surface when the 6-7 ft Reef Shark struck the back of my head & neck.”

SHARK EMBRYO SEEN 'SWIMMING' INSIDE TRANSLUCENT EGG CASE IN 'VERY RARE' FOOTAGE

With help from his shipmates, Krause said he “miraculously escaped with several stitches, some gnarly scars, & a viral GoPro video.”

A video of the event, which had more than 300,000 views on YouTube as of Wednesday afternoon, was captured by Krause’s shipmate, Zach Shipp, The Charlotte Observer reported. Shipp can be heard yelling “Shark! Shark! Shark!” in the video as he breaches the water moments after seeing the attack first-hand.

“I was pleading with the Lord: Not right now, not yet,” Krause recently recalled to ABC’S “Good Morning America," adding he distinctly remembers “the sound of the crunch of my head, which is not a pleasant sound.”

SOUTH CAROLINA FISHERMAN SPOTS HUGE WHALE SHARK APPROACHING BOAT: ‘IT WAS PRETTY NEAT’

Krause, who also told the news station he was surrounded by his own blood following the incident, said the experience has “shift[ed] [his] perspective.”

“It doesn't take a shark attack to recognize God's generosity & intentionality in our lives,” he wrote, in part, on Facebook. “May this Thanksgiving point you NOT just to the reality that you are blessed, but to the One who is giving the blessing.”

Will Krause did not immediately respond to Fox News' request for comment Wednesday afternoon.

Madeline Farber is a Reporter for Fox News. You can follow her on Twitter @MaddieFarberUDK.

Shark embryo seen ‘swimming’ inside translucent egg case in ‘very rare’ footage

Using a camera to explore the ocean floor — roughly 820 to 1,200 feet below the surface — off the coast of Puerto Rico last week, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists got a rare opportunity to observe something they hardly see: a live shark embryo.

During the deep sea journey, researchers witnessed 12 different kinds of fish, from bigeye soldierfish to silk snappers with its remotely operated vehicle Deep Discoverer, the NOAA said in a news release. They also witnessed an array of colorful coral and sponges along Desecheo Island.

But it was a tiny translucent egg case floating nearby that really caught their eye.

"Upon zooming in on this egg case, we were able to clearly see the embryo of a catshark actively swimming within the case," the NOAA described, noting it was attached to a coral branch at the time.

It's a "very rare sighting," as only about 30 percent of shark species actually lay eggs, according to LiveScience. Catsharks, in particular, are also rarely observed since they prefer to hang around depths of anywhere between 1,600 to 2,000 feet, National Geographic reports.

They're the largest shark family, with more than 100 species of the small sharks, which grow up to about 3 feet long.

GREAT WHITE SHARK KILLS DOLPHIN, LOSES MEAL TO EVEN BIGGER SHARK

"Most catsharks live in seas above the upper continental slope, a location that makes it difficult to observe these sharks and collect specimens. Therefore, much information about catsharks remains to be discovered," AnimalDiversity.org reports.

Cat Gordon, a conservation officer at U.K.-based organization Shark Trust, believes the embryo could be anywhere from four to five months old.

"The shark moves backwards and forwards to bring in oxygenated seawater through small slits along the edge of the egg cases and it will also open and close its mouth to pump water over the gills," Gordon told the Daily Mail.

"Egg cases are attached to invertebrates or algae via long strands that coil around a solid base during the few months until hatching. After completing its development, the shark pup will emerge from the case and will be ready to swim in order to maximize its survival chances," NOAA explains.

Jennifer Earl is an SEO editor for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter @jenearlyspeakin.

Shark embryo seen ‘swimming’ inside translucent egg case in ‘very rare’ footage

Using a camera to explore the ocean floor — roughly 820 to 1,200 feet below the surface — off the coast of Puerto Rico last week, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists got a rare opportunity to observe something they hardly see: a live shark embryo.

During the deep sea journey, researchers witnessed 12 different kinds of fish, from bigeye soldierfish to silk snappers with its remotely operated vehicle Deep Discoverer, the NOAA said in a news release. They also witnessed an array of colorful coral and sponges along Desecheo Island.

But it was a tiny translucent egg case floating nearby that really caught their eye.

"Upon zooming in on this egg case, we were able to clearly see the embryo of a catshark actively swimming within the case," the NOAA described, noting it was attached to a coral branch at the time.

It's a "very rare sighting," as only about 30 percent of shark species actually lay eggs, according to LiveScience. Catsharks, in particular, are also rarely observed since they prefer to hang around depths of anywhere between 1,600 to 2,000 feet, National Geographic reports.

They're the largest shark family, with more than 100 species of the small sharks, which grow up to about 3 feet long.

GREAT WHITE SHARK KILLS DOLPHIN, LOSES MEAL TO EVEN BIGGER SHARK

"Most catsharks live in seas above the upper continental slope, a location that makes it difficult to observe these sharks and collect specimens. Therefore, much information about catsharks remains to be discovered," AnimalDiversity.org reports.

Cat Gordon, a conservation officer at U.K.-based organization Shark Trust, believes the embryo could be anywhere from four to five months old.

"The shark moves backwards and forwards to bring in oxygenated seawater through small slits along the edge of the egg cases and it will also open and close its mouth to pump water over the gills," Gordon told the Daily Mail.

"Egg cases are attached to invertebrates or algae via long strands that coil around a solid base during the few months until hatching. After completing its development, the shark pup will emerge from the case and will be ready to swim in order to maximize its survival chances," NOAA explains.

Jennifer Earl is an SEO editor for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter @jenearlyspeakin.

Shark embryo seen ‘swimming’ inside translucent egg case in ‘very rare’ footage

Using a camera to explore the ocean floor — roughly 820 to 1,200 feet below the surface — off the coast of Puerto Rico last week, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists got a rare opportunity to observe something they hardly see: a live shark embryo.

During the deep sea journey, researchers witnessed 12 different kinds of fish, from bigeye soldierfish to silk snappers with its remotely operated vehicle Deep Discoverer, the NOAA said in a news release. They also witnessed an array of colorful coral and sponges along Desecheo Island.

But it was a tiny translucent egg case floating nearby that really caught their eye.

"Upon zooming in on this egg case, we were able to clearly see the embryo of a catshark actively swimming within the case," the NOAA described, noting it was attached to a coral branch at the time.

It's a "very rare sighting," as only about 30 percent of shark species actually lay eggs, according to LiveScience. Catsharks, in particular, are also rarely observed since they prefer to hang around depths of anywhere between 1,600 to 2,000 feet, National Geographic reports.

They're the largest shark family, with more than 100 species of the small sharks, which grow up to about 3 feet long.

GREAT WHITE SHARK KILLS DOLPHIN, LOSES MEAL TO EVEN BIGGER SHARK

"Most catsharks live in seas above the upper continental slope, a location that makes it difficult to observe these sharks and collect specimens. Therefore, much information about catsharks remains to be discovered," AnimalDiversity.org reports.

Cat Gordon, a conservation officer at U.K.-based organization Shark Trust, believes the embryo could be anywhere from four to five months old.

"The shark moves backwards and forwards to bring in oxygenated seawater through small slits along the edge of the egg cases and it will also open and close its mouth to pump water over the gills," Gordon told the Daily Mail.

"Egg cases are attached to invertebrates or algae via long strands that coil around a solid base during the few months until hatching. After completing its development, the shark pup will emerge from the case and will be ready to swim in order to maximize its survival chances," NOAA explains.

Jennifer Earl is an SEO editor for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter @jenearlyspeakin.