The Carcharodon megalodon, now extinct, was the size of a bus, at 13–17 metres long. They cruised the world’s oceans from 25 million until 1.6 million years ago. Their prey probably included early species of whales. Some researchers think that they were the ancestors of great white sharks, which are miniature by comparison. A fossilised Carcharodon megalodon vertebra was found in sea cliffs off Taranaki, and a 12-centimetre tooth was also discovered near there. Shark fossils are rare, as their skeletons are made of cartilage, not bone, and do not survive burial. The model pictured here hangs in the Puke Ariki museum in New Plymouth.
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Puke Ariki - Taranaki Museum & Library
Photograph by John Crawford
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