What predator could claim as prey a fully-grown, great white shark? There is only one that comes to mind, but you see it's supposed to be extinct. It is a prehistoric fish known as Carcharodon Megalodon, or as the sailors frequenting the Sea of Cortez have named it, El Demonio Negro, and according to them it is still very much alive.
The Gulf of California known as the Sea of Cortez lies between the Baja Peninsula and Sonora. Throughout the years, those who have traversed these waters whether for business or pleasure tell the tale of sighting a shark that measures approximately 50 feet. Its black skin shines when the sun's rays reflects upon it when it comes to the surface, and its huge tail churns the sea.
It is large enough to overturn boats, swallow a pod of sea lions and attack a whale.
The stories of the sightings have passed through word of mouth with no tangible proof of their existence, except for half-eaten whale carcasses that wash up on shore.
Based on a sighting in 2008 in these waters by sport fisherman, Erick Mack, Monster Quest sent a film crew the following year to hopefully capture the creature that Mack described as being 50 feet long, with dark skin, and an enormous flipper. It rocked his boat, and with a splash from its tail dove rapidly into the depths.
An alternative explanation for the sighting is that it's a hypermelanistic great white shark grown to its full length. This creature would be the opposite of an albino with too much melanin causing its skin to appear dark.
Others suggest it might have been a whale shark which can reach lengths in excess of 40 feet. They are darker than great whites and churn the ocean surface with their tails. However they are not predators.
The Gulf of California has its fair share of very large sharks. In 2012, fishermen found a dead great white shark entangled in nets they had set for flounder. It measured almost 20 feet and weighed 2,000 pounds.
Despite its great size, this specimen still falls short of the description given for the Black Demon.
In 1567, Sir John Hawkins an English naval commander, privateer and sea merchant sailed along the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. It was in these waters that his crew saw large carnivorous fish unknown to them. They asked the indigenous Maya its name, and they were told, "xoc". Upon returning to England in 1569 they added the word "shark" to the English lexicon.
Sightings of what might be a Megalodon come from other parts of the world. In his book, Sharks and Rays of the Australian Seas, David Stead recounts a story dating back to 1918. He was visiting Port Stephens, Australia and found local crayfish fishermen from Broughton Island who refused to fish in the area. They described to him where they encountered a shark measuring over 115 feet who destroyed their equipment and ate their crayfish pots. Having fished these seas for generations they claimed it was unlike any creature they had seen before. It was totally white and made the water "boil" with the motion of its body. They were sure it was not a whale.
In the 1960s along the outer edge of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, an 85-foot ship experienced engine trouble, which forced it to weigh anchor for repairs. Although the men subsequently refused to openly report what they had seen for fear of public ridicule, the captain and his crew later told friends of sighting an immense shark as it moved slowly past their ship. Whitish in color, they were awed by its size. It was as long, if not longer, than their boat! Experienced men of the sea, they too were certain the creature was not whale..
During the 1920s game-fishing novelist Zane Grey frequented New Zealand and broke several world fishing records, however he claimed to have an encounter with a "man-eating monster of the South Pacific." He described that it had yellowish green skin with white spots and exceeded the length of his 40-foot boat. It had large pectoral fins and a square head. Well-acquainted with the sharks in the area he insisted it was not a great white.
In 2003, a 9 foot, female great white shark was tagged by researchers in Australia. Several months later the tag washed up on a shore 2.5 miles from where the shark was released.
When they checked the tracking device, it showed the animal had suddenly plunged 1900 feet down into the ocean. Then the instrumentation registered a spike in heat, equivalent to being inside a digestive system. It stayed at this temperature for several days. Then there was an occasional rise to the surface before descending again. Then it washed onshore.
The researchers surmised this shark had been eaten by a larger great white shark, however its internal temperature puzzled them. It appeared too low for a killer whale, too high for another shark, unless it was "massive".
A "colossal cannibal great white shark" is thought to be the culprit. It's estimated to be over 16 feet long and weigh two tons. Again this is just a theory.
Stories of whales attacked and maimed by a predator also point to the existence of Megalodon since this was the type of prey it consumed, as well as seals, sea lions, giant sea turtles, dolphins, porpoises and sea cows.
Whale fossils show the marks of very large shark teeth which belonged to Megalodon.
In 2019, a photographer and a cave expert discovered three different shark teeth in the Xoc cenote in Maderia, Mexico. This area was underwater millions of years ago.
The teeth belong to the ancient megalodon, shortfin mako and sawshark.
The question is did megalodon survive millions of years beyond what is believed by most experts? The majority of the earth's surface is made up of oceans, with depths that remain unexplored, including what swims in the inky darkness so many feet from the light of the sun.
Considering our lack of knowledge, the possibility that this giant predator still exists is not beyond belief.
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