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Giant Sharks Through Time

Giant Sharks Through Time

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Great Whites are currently the largest predator shark on this water planet, but it hasn’t always been this way. The first large predator shark dates back to 100 million years ago back to the Cretaceous period of time. The shark I am referring to is Cretoxyrhina manteli, which is commonly known as the Ginsu shark because of its sharp ginsu knife slice and dice teeth. The teeth were large, sharp, and had smooth edges similar to the modern short fin mako shark. This large lamniform shark grew 20-24ft long and preyed on fish such as the 20ft long fanged tooth Xiphactinus, Plesiosaurs such as elasmosaurus, mosasaurs, and archelon turtles. Remains of sea going reptiles such as Mosasaurs have been found inside the stomachs of fossilized Ginsu sharks, Ginsu teeth marks have been found on fossils of Mosasaurs, and half digested fossilized remains of smaller Mosasaurs bones have been found near Ginsu shark deposits. Ginsu sharks died out some 82 million years ago and this could be partly due to the fact that certain species of mosasaurs grew close to 50ft long and in turn became the top predator of the time. Whether Mosasaurs ate all the Ginsu sharks, dominated the former Ginsu shark food supply, food sources like Xiphactinus fish diminished, or the rising number of other predators proved overwhelming, Ginzu sharks managed to survive for 18million years and just like the warm waters of the Thethys Ocean, Ginsu Sharks ultimately became extinct.

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For the next 54 million years a few early species of mako sharks radiated in to sharks 20 to 30ft long sharks such as Paratodus benedeni, Isurus hastalis, and Isurus estheri, but 28 million years ago during the Oligocene a new large species of shark came to light and pushed these mako sharks out of sight and out of mind. It was a time when whales dominated the seas and radiated into many species. The new shark Carcharocles megalodon or simply Megalodon, which grew to some 43 to 52 plus feet in length, roamed the warm waters in search of big fish and whale buffets. Remnant fossilized teeth over seven inches long are still found on the muddy bottoms of rivers in South Carolina and Florida as well as off shore along the south eastern states.

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An intermediary 16ft long form of broad tooth mako shark with coarse serrations on its teeth and similar to great white teeth was found in 6.5 million year old fossil deposits of Peru. Scientist are now confident that the great white took it’s current form from ancestors of serrated tooth mako during the early Pliocene 4-4.5 million years ago along the Pacific Coast where whales and seals are still quite prevalent. In the late Pliocene around 2-2.5 million years ago great whites radiated out to other parts of the world. Megalodon sharks finally died out 1.8million years ago, giving them a total life long run of almost 26 million years on this water planet. It’s not known if great whites lead to the extinction of Megalodon sharks, but juvenile megalodons with butter knife smooth teeth would have had to compete directly against easy chomping great whites with steak knife teeth. The sharp teeth would come in handy against seals, and may have given great whites an edge on hunting young whales too. It’s also known that species of giant mako sharks became extinct as great whites filled the niches of the precursor instead of the mako .

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Some fifteen million years ago the cold Antarctic circumpolar current came into existence and by 10 million years ago several species of sharks began to grow in size. By the end of the Pliocene, somewhere around 3 million years ago, the waters became cooler as the Greenland ice cap accumulated. Megalodon fossils are usually associated in areas that were once warmer or tropical. Perhaps the great white by just being able to hunt in colder waters than megalodons and ability to expand out around the world could have eventually reduced the megalodon’s immediate, as well as their migrating food supply, and led to the megalodon’s final extinction.

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Millions of sharks are killed yearly and efforts to curtail or eliminate this routine practice must be enhanced. Knowing the evolution of giant sharks, now more than ever, it is important to safe guard the existence of great whites. Because if they went instinct even accidentally, it could take another 25 million years before the world could see such a large top predator, and that is only if the food supply was abundant, over fishing was no longer a threat, and the climate or water temperature was agreeable to a currently unknown future radiated shark species.

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A Mermaid Minute: Linden Wolbert

‘Out of the sea… wish I could be… part of that, world…’

What if we told you we found a girl who longed to be part of the undersea world? Who quit her steady 9-5 to fulfill her dream of becoming a real mermaid.

We’re not nuts! Though it sounds a bit odd, this is exactly what Linden Wolbert did. And some of us here are a little envious! As divers, free-diving with a fish-like tail is the closest you can get to comfortably experiencing the ocean as the undersea creatures do.

So, what’s her story?

As a kid Linden loved movies like “Splash” and “The Little Mermaid” she’d also spend most of her time watching wildlife documentaries. Linden’s even got a bachelor’s degree in film and science from Emerson.

Photo Courtesy of Yahoo! Shine

Her goal? To become an underwater wildlife documentary filmmaker like Jacques Cousteau.

She ended up with a 35-pound, 6-foot long hydro-dynamic tail that’s probably worth more than some of our dive equipment… She’s also got a few more and one in the works by famed fashion designer Evey Rothstein.

Her tails aren’t just for show. Each tail is ‘swimmable’ and allows her to make differently in the water. This little mermaid can also dive down about 100 feet and hold her breath for five full minutes.

There’s so much more to her story, work and charity work, and her online show The Mermaid Minute.

Check it out at Yahoo! Shine’s What It’s Like to Be a Real-Life Mermaid>>


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The Kraken. Found. Real.


Well, sort of.

Photo Courtesy of the Discovery Channel

If you’re anything like us you probably caught the “Monster Squid: The Giant Is Real” special on the Discovery Channel Sunday night. We were SO thrilled and amazed that such a creature was found and we were filled with emotion  knowing that there’s still so much to discover under the sea.

So, incase you missed it or want a little recap of the special – we’ve got all you need right here.

The Expedition 

About 40 days to capture footage of the giant squid which included over 285 hours in depths of up to 3,000 feet.

The crew would dive for some hours and see nothing only to rise from the depths discouraged and on top of that, expectations were low.

Photo Courtesy of the Discovery Channel

The Find 

Hopes of finding a giant squid have been kept alive with remains of carcasses floating ashore, bits and pieces of squid in fishing nets and of course – folklore, tall tales of monstrous beasts the size of islands.

This however, is the first giant squid video ever captured of the animal in its natural habitat. Beautifully floating through the depths and feeling around the equipment and cameras.

Want more? We know you do.

Click here for everything giant squid on the Discovery Channel.

Now, anyone wanna help us fund the mermaid expedition?

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Favorite Sea Legends: The Kraken, Mermaids, and Sirens

It’s no secret we love all things ocean and sea legends just come with the territory. This week we are rounding up a few of our favorites: the Kraken, Sirens, and Mermaids. You may have heard of some of these legendary creatures thanks to Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean. If you have kids you can thank SpongeBob SquarePants and Disney for the introduction.

Until we come face-to-face with these creatures, the tales will just have to do although we’re not sure how close we would want to get.


The Kraken

As early as the 13th century sailors have been telling tales of two massive sea creatures one of which was the Kraken. Rumors pointed to sightings off the shores of Norway and Iceland; the Kraken was described in many different ways depending on the era.

The Kraken is incontestably the largest Sea monster in the world with a width of one and a half miles. It was also noted to have had starfish type protuberances: it’s arms would be able to get a hold of the largest man-of-war and pull it down to the bottom.”

Tall tales of the Kraken grabbing hold of ships with its tentacles and engulfing them from the bottom all the way to its main mast still circulate the seas. Its grip would bring down the ship and its sailors with it and they would be taken by the sea. Kind of like the final scene with Jack Sparrow where the Kraken takes down the Black Pearl.

Cool, huh? But we want nothing to do with it!

Sirens and Mermaids

 Beautiful, mysterious, and at times, down right dangerous. Tails (see what we did there) of Sirens and Mermaids have been told by sailors and travelers for centuries; in fact in some languages they are both the same creature.


Sirens in Greek mythology were sea nymphs who lived on an island called Sirenum scopuli, but there are different locations depending on the tradition in which the tale is told.  These beautiful naiads would enchant sailors and travelers with their siren song and cause them to sail their ships into cliffs and drown.

There were some cases of men thwarting their siren song.

The first were the Argonauts who had Orpheus play a tune louder than the Sirens.

The second was Odysseus’ men who plugged their ears with beeswax. Odysseus alone volunteered to hear the song while tied to the ship’s mast.

This second escape caused the Sirens to kill themselves out of shame. It was then said that Sirens were destined to die should someone hear their song and escape unscathed.


Mermaids, on the other hand, come from mer which means sea and maid(en) which is a legendary creature  human from the torso up and fish-like down.

The earliest Mermaid story comes from Assyria around 1000 BCE. Atargatis, an Assyrian priestess, jumped into the sea to wash away her shame of an unwanted pregnancy and emerged as a fishtailed goddess.

Seamen often spotted mermaids during the middle ages. Christopher Columbus among them saw three Mermaids on his first voyage to the Americas in 1493.

Mermaids figured prominently in sailors’ lore, because of such travellers’ tales.

The most common story was that Mermaids were incredibly skilled at seducing lonely sailors and dragging them down to their underwater kingdom. It was also believed that they could cause storms and shipwrecks.

Fun Fact:

We are all familiar with Disney’s beloved The Little Mermaid, but did you know how the tale originally came about?  In the very first version of the story by Hans Christian Andersen, the mermaid sees her Prince marry a princess and she despairs. She is offered a knife to kill the prince with, but instead she jumps into the sea and dies by turning to froth. Hans Christian Andersen modified the ending slightly to make it more pleasant. In his new ending, instead of dying when turned to froth, she becomes a daughter of the air waiting to go to heaven.

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