Megalodon: Largest Shark that Ever Lived

Oct. 4, 2014 – Jan. 4, 2015 | $7 adults, $6 Fla. residents and college students, $4.50 child, free for UF students and Museum members

The largest shark ever known has returned to Gainesville! Be consumed with awe at "Megalodon," the gigantic prehistoric shark that once cruised the world's oceans. This object-rich exhibition features an opportunity to walk through the full-scale jaws of a 60-foot-long sculpture of this fantastic ancient creature. Get a close-up look at Megalodon and other fossil specimens and life-size scale models of other ancient and modern sharks. The exhibit is rich in hands-on, family-friendly activities.

Exhibit Highlights

  • Enter at Your Own Risk!
    Megalodon, a dominant marine predator for 15 million years before vanishing 2 million years ago, provides lessons for shark conservation today. Touch a full set of 46 Megalodon teeth and learn why scientists still debate the shark’s size. Turn a wheel with vertebrae to magnify and count growth rings to estimate the shark’s age.
  • All About Megalodon
    What did the giant shark eat? When and where did it live? Megalodon was the top predator of its time. Calculate the volume of tuna cans that represents its average daily meal. Compare Megalodon’s time on earth to dinosaurs, humans and other animals, and see fossils of some of Megalodon’s neighbors. Touch Megalodon teeth from around the world and use buttons to locate where these fossils were found on a world map.
  • Visitors looking at Megalodon teeth display

    Visitors touch a set of 46 Megalodon teeth. Florida Museum photo by Eric Zamora.

    Megalodon’s Extended Family
    Megalodon belongs to a group of giants called megatoothed sharks, all now extinct. Discover when each species lived and see the diversity of their tooth shapes and sizes. Learn about Megalodon’s closest relatives: mackerel sharks, which include the modern great white and mako. View models of some of the curious early sharks of 400 million years ago and the specimens that give scientists clues. See specimens of the three fish most closely related to sharks and view six full-scale models, including a 16-foot great white.
  • Shark Research at the Florida Museum of Natural History
    The Florida Museum has one of the most active shark research programs in the world. Learn about recent Florida Museum research including the discovery of an ancient Megalodon nursery and view recently excavated fossils from Panama.
  • Megalomania!
    Megalodon continues to fascinate, elevating it to near cult status. From biker jackets to postage stamps, the exhibition explores the many ways Megalodon remains a part of human culture through art, literature, music and film.
  • "Sharkabet: A Sea of Sharks From A to Z"
    The whimsical exhibition "Sharkabet" showcases paintings by artist Ray Troll of different extinct and living shark species for each letter of the alphabet. The exhibit was produced by The Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science.

Did you know?

  • Boy looking up at Megalodon sculpture

    A child imagines Megalodon’s huge size at the entrance to a full-scale sculpture of the animal in the exhibit. Florida Museum photo by Eric Zamora

    Megalodon lived 17 million to 2 million years ago.
  • Megalodon was about 60 feet long with a body mass of about 77 tons.
  • Megalodon had 46 front row teeth: 24 in the upper jaw and 22 in the lower.
  • Sharks average six rows of teeth—Megalodon had about 276 teeth at any given time!
  • Some scientists estimate Megalodon ate about 2,500 pounds of food every day, including whales and other large fish.
  • Ancient people collected Megalodon teeth, and traditional legends feature giant sharks.
  • Megalodon may be extinct but is still with us...appearing in books, movies, cartoons and video games, and on stamps and jewelry.
  • Though they are top marine predators, modern sharks are in population decline due to overfishing and environmental changes.

Acknowledgments

“Megalodon” was produced by the Florida Museum of Natural History with support from the National Science Foundation.

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