Great white sharks may have been responsible for the extinction of megalodons some 3 million years ago, new research suggests.
While great whites are about one-fourth the size of an average megalodon, scientists now believe the two types of shark hunted the same prey. And because great whites may have been faster and more agile, they got to the food first, says Michael Griffiths, a geochemist at William Paterson University.
Scientists came to the conclusion after examining an ancient great white tooth, which showed it ate the same type of food as its much larger cousin, Griffiths says. "What organisms eat really dictates how they evolve, and whether they are, quote, unquote, 'winners or losers' in the game of life," he says. "The jury's still out as to what led to the extinction of megalodon. But I think this paves the way to future research in terms of really nailing down what led to their demise."