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Megalodon: Does 67-foot monster shark still exist off the coast of South Africa?

Megalodon, a monster shark that scientists believe died out some 65 million years ago, might still exist and just might still be marauding the sea lanes off the coast of South Africa. Or at least that's the premise of "Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives," which is one of the newest editions to the video annals of Shark Week on the Discovery Channel.

The tooth of a megalodon shark. Although not shown to scale, a tooth from one of the monster sharks were as big as a man's head.
Emoke Denes, Creative Commons

That's right. It's Shark Week again, that time of year when all things shark-related seems to center around the Discovery Channel, unless it's shark-related preposterousness, then that would be the province of the Syfy Channel and movies like "Shartopus" and "Sharknado." And to show they are not above such preposterousness or attempting to cash in on the paranormal and cryptozoology crazes, Discovery went all "X-Files" this Shark Week season, Yahoo TV reported August 2, and delivered a documentary positing that megalodon might still cruise the waters off South Africa, wreaking havoc

Of course, Discovery has been in these murky, cryptozoological waters -- that realm of quasi-science and speculation inhabited by Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster -- before (sort of). They traveled them with their highly questionable and rather unscientific look at mermaids. But "Mermaids: The New Evidence" was an online sensation and a ratings winner for sister channel Animal Planet. It was the follow-up to the successful "Mermaids: The Body Found."

So where else could they go? Apparently into Peter Benchley's nightmares. They didn't get so far as to rearrange John Williams music for "Jaws" by way of Rob Zombie, but given time...

Enter Megalodon, a yacht-sized shark that's three times the size of a Great White. It has a massive jaw structure that holds 275 teeth, each larger than Richard Dreyfuss' head.

And... it might still be alive!

Hardly. Still, as Yahoo TV points out, unlike a few species that were thought to be somewhat legendary (like the giant squid), megalodon has left no actual trace of its existence (except as a fossil). Still, for the diehards, some species have proven to be other than extinct (like the coelocanth). And then there is the discovery of heretofore unknown species, like the oddly unaesthetic -- and rather large -- mega-mouth shark, which was discovered in 1976.


Discovery visited megalodon territory before, producing "Sharkzilla" for Shark Week 2012. With the help of the guys from "Mythbusters," producers built a massive mechanical megalodon.

"Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives" premieres on the first night of Shark Week 2013 at 9 p.m. (EST) on Sunday, August 4.

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