Meet the Megalodon – the monster that once roamed the U.S. coast

See South Carolina's very own Megalodon.

Did you know that the Megalodon was the largest shark to ever exist?!

You might be vaguely familiar with the creature and/or highly interested in seeing the recently release movie in which the shark has a starring role.

But did you know The South Carolina State Museum has one? Well, a model of one, anyway. No one knows exactly what the Megalodon looked like because teeth and vertebra are the only things that remain.

South Carolina State Museum Natural History Curator Dave Cicimurri says that the museum’s model is an upscaled version of a great white shark.

In fact, the Megalodon was about four times the size of a great white. The average Megalodon was about 45 feet long and weighed about 40 tons. However, they could be anywhere from 30 to 60 feet long.

At that size, a tooth with a 7-inch slant height would be normal. The name Megalodon means big tooth.

Megalodons lived anywhere that they could find food. This included the coast of modern-day South Carolina. Megalodon teeth have been found in the Cooper and Broad rivers.

Their teeth are often found broken off in the bones of whales. Killer whales and orcas made up a large part of the Megalodon’s diet. They also ate dolphins, ancient sea lions, sea turtles and other large fish.

The youngest Megalodon teeth are about 2.5 million years old and the oldest is 15 to 20 million years old.

Could you imagine if these sharks were still alive? No one would like the beach.

Check out the model and learn more about the shark at The South Carolina State Museum, and check out the movie, The Meg, which is in theaters on Aug. 9.

Interested in more news and features from the Columbia area? Check out our friends at Palmetto Weekend.