Jaws….a fish that still strikes fear into the hearts of many…
So where did the giant leviathan and largest carnivorous shark, the great white, come from?
While the mako is smaller, scientists have uncovered evidence linking it to the great white. Previous theories believed the great white was related to extinct "megatooth sharks" - the largest sharks in history.
Fossils from the newly discovered Carcharodon hubbelli could link broad toothed makos to great whites. The fossil, Carcharodon hubbelli, or Hubbell's white shark, is thought to be over 65 MILLION years old and its teeth could have an important message behind them.
The main difference between modern makos and great whites are serrations in their teeth. Makos do not have them as they feed on mostly fish, while great whites feed on other animals.
The Carcharodon hubbelli has serrations but it descends from makos.
Vertebrae paleontologist Dana Ehret sums up the discovery with the following:
While I personally think we make a very strong case that white sharks evolved from mako shark ancestors, I know some people out there will continue to investigate the relationships between the giant shark Megaladon and modern white sharks.
That's how science has to work: You have to put out hypotheses and also test them, see if they stand up to scientific research.
The world may never know…but it's still pretty cool to see where giant fish come from!