We have all heard of the giant shark from hell, Megalodon. 60 feet long with 6 inch cerated teeth and the strongest bite force of all time! Don't worry, it lived approximately 23 to 2.6 million years ago, during the Cenozoic Era. Along with a vast variety of megafauna marine life. All vanishing around 2.5 million years ago.
The big news released on Monday of this week is an explanation as to why these giant marine animals and sea birds disappeared and we are left with todays stand size of shark and marine mammals. It's estimated that a global shift in tides and climate altered 80% of the global coastal regions resulting in the extinction of 55% of marine mammal diversity. As many as 43% of sea turtles were lost, 35% of sea birds and 10% of sharks. However, this did help in the the rise of new mammals such as the polar bear, Penguins, storm petrel Oceanodroma and modern seals.
If a marine animal species is lost and there is another similar animal there to take its place then the ecosystem is effected very little. But if you eliminate an entire species in an area and there is nothing to take its place then the entire ecosystem changes from the bottom up.
In order to determine the consequences of this extinction, the research team at the University of Zurich Germany, concentrated their efforts shallow coastal shelf zones and the effects the loss of an entire functional entity has on an environment. Functional entities are animals that do not relate to each other. Their findings show that 17% of total diversity of the ecological functions dissapeared and 21% changed forever.
Marine mammals were forced to adjust or perish. The larger the animal the more vulnerable they were to the changes. Species of marine cows and baleen whales as well as giant sharks like Megalodon disappeared forever.
This brings up the major issues and changes that humans are making to the earths environment on a daily basis. The current studies show that modern day animals and megafauna are far more vulnerable to environmental changes then in the past.
Thankfully we have scientists and environmental groups helping round the clock to keep ecosystems safe and unchanged for todays marine and wild life. please do your part so we can keep todays wonderful varity of animals around for many centuroes to come.