A close cousin of megalodon -- the largest shark that ever lived -- has been identified using remains found in California, North Carolina, Peru and Japan.
The shark, Megalolamna paradoxodon, lived 20 million years ago and had impressive 2-inch-long teeth. The new find (its name means "paradoxical Teeth") also reveals important information about megalodon and existing great white sharks.
Great whites are not direct descendants of the enormous megalodon, which could grow to well over 33 feet long. (Some researchers even think it could grow up to 67 feet long, or about five car lengths.) However, according to research published in the journal Historical Biology, great whites have taken the place of megalodon at the top of the ocean's food chain.
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Lead author Kenshu Shimada explained that megatoothed sharks and modern great white sharks belong to the shark group called Lamniformes. However, a split must have taken place deep in time and each lineage took its own evolutionary path.