Whopping 50-Foot Long 'Megalodon' Shape Detected by Atlantic Ocean Scanner

An underwater scanner in the Atlantic picked up a 50-foot long shape, momentarily igniting a glimmer of hope that the infamous megalodon may not in fact be extinct.

The Atlantic Shark Institute shared a photo to their Instagram page on Monday, where it asked: "Does the Meg exist?"

Referencing the recent blockbuster starring Jason Statham, for a moment it was thought life was imitating art as a suspiciously shark-looking outline appeared on scanners.

Judging by the shape it was too big to be a great white—with the longest ever recorded, a female named Deep Blue, clocking in at 20 feet and weighing around 4,500 pounds (lbs). The discovery was more than twice that length, suggesting a weight of about 40 tons.

Image picked up by the ocean scanner.
An image picked up by the ocean scanner. The Atlantic Shark Institute shared a photo of a "megalodon" shape beneath the waves. The Atlantic Shark Institute

The post said: "On a recent shark research trip we were all amused to see this shape appear on our fish finder for several minutes.

"Based on the length of the image we estimated the "Meg" to be about 50 feet long, weighing in at 40 tons!"

The team eagerly watched the scanner as the shape revealed it's true form, and sadly it wasn't a prehistoric sea creature.

The post concluded: "We waited for one of the rods to go off however, much to our disappointment, the shape started to transition into a large school of atlantic mackeral that hung around the boat for about 15 minutes. [sic]

"So close, but so far! The Megalodon (Otodus megalodon), disappeared more than 3 million years ago and will likely stay that way, but, for a few minutes, we thought he had returned!"

Commenting on the post, Lilbabyjo said: "He's out there.....," while Eobreton admitted: "I got excited for 10 seconds." And Thesharkdoctor added: "Haha—that would've got my heart racing."

Photo of megalodon fossil.
Photo of megalodon fossil. The creature was the largest shark to ever live in the ocean. Ethan Miller/Getty Images

As the post says, the earliest megalodon fossils date back some 20 million years, and the predators ruled the oceans for millions more to come.

"For the next 13 million years the enormous shark dominated the oceans until becoming extinct just 3.6 million years ago," London's Natural History Museum said.

Explaining more about their evolution, the site continued: "The oldest definitive ancestor of megalodon is a 55-million-year-old shark known as Otodus obliquus, which grew to around 10 meters in length.

"But the evolutionary history of this shark is thought to stretch back to Cretalamna appendiculata, dating to 105 million years old—making the lineage of megalodon over 100 million years old."

According to the museum, the beasts were estimated to be between 49 feet and 59 feet long, three times the size of the biggest great whites.

"Without a complete megalodon skeleton, these figures are based on the size of the animal's teeth, which can reach 18 centimeters long. In fact, the word megalodon simply means 'large tooth'. These teeth can tell us a lot, such as what these massive animals ate," the museum said.

It's theorized the colossal creature feasted on humpback whales—backed up by the discovery of fossilized whale bones bearing marks from megalodons' teeth.

"Others even include the tips of teeth broken off in the bone during a feeding frenzy that occurred millions of years ago," the museum said.

The giant shark's mouth opened up to 11 feet wide, and were lined with rows of teeth, around 276.

For a few minutes, we thought he had returned!"
Atlantic Shark Institute

"Studies reconstructing the shark's bite force suggest that it may have been one of the most powerful predators ever to have existed," the site added.

It's fairly common to find megalodon teeth today, with one recently discovered in North Carolina.

Their abundance is due to the fact sharks lose roughly one set of teeth a fortnight, meaning they work their way through around 40,000 in their lifetime. And as they're the most durable part of the skeleton, more have survived.

And putting to bed the speculation they may still exist in the depths of the oceans, as per The Meg's plot, the museum quoted Emma Bernard, who curates the Museum's fossil fish collection.

She said: "No. It's definitely not alive in the deep oceans, despite what the Discovery Channel has said in the past. If an animal as big as megalodon still lived in the oceans we would know about it."

Tell-tale bite marks on other animals, an abundance of recent megalodon teeth, and as the creatures are a warm-water species "megalodon would not be able to survive in the cold waters of the deep, where it would have a better chance of going unnoticed."