May 31, 2011

NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher Megalodon Exhibit to Open Mid June 2011

Ever wondered what it may be like to swim with a prehistoric predator? The NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher is proud to announce the opening of its newest exhibit; Megalodon: Diving with North Carolina’s Ultimate Predator.

The state-of-the-art exhibit set to open in mid-June, features dynamic 3D animation, interactive displays, and a variety of informative facts about the extinct shark species. Visitors can truly gain an up close perspective of Megalodon with displays that highlight the animal’s size and power.

Test your shark smarts by taking a brief quiz. Clues about modern day sharks appear on a screen and if the correct species is selected, a lifelike hologram will appear overhead. Visitors will also learn about how important sharks are for healthy oceans, the threats they face, and actions to take to protect these amazing animals.

Megalodon ruled the sea from 20 million to about two million years ago. Climate change during this time may have caused their extinction by altering the migratory routes of whales, which was the food of choice for Megalodon.

The Megalodon project began nearly two years ago when Aquarium divers discovered Megalodon teeth while on a routine collection trip, diving in 100 feet of water. Soon after, Aquarium staff purchased a complete Megalodon jaw replica at auction; an artifact that would provide a baseline for the new exhibit’s design concepts.

The Aquarium’s replicated jaw has an interesting story. The original Megalodon teeth were found in Aurora, NC - a full set. Megalodons had four rows of teeth. Most Megalodon models use two or three teeth molds repeated on each row. This jaw is made from molds from the complete set: four rows of each individual tooth.

Megalodon teeth provide vital information about the animal as they are the only remaining scientific evidence from the extinct predator. Ranging in length from four to six inches, the teeth indicate that this animal was massive, approximately 50-60 feet. Similar to modern day sharks and rays, Megalodon was a cartilaginous fish.

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