Meg Debate Has Bite

Posted by: Loren Coleman on March 18th, 2009

Carcharodon megalodon, the giant prehistoric shark, is a favorite of some marine cryptid fans. Others think it is silly to think they exist in modern oceans. The debate gets air time tonight.

MonsterQuest is on the case for March 18, 2009, and the results may surprise folks, because they might have an intriguingly positive twist, although different than the original quest.

Recently, in an interview with a Minneapolis-St. Paul television station, Doug Hajicek let leak some details of one that didn’t get away. While remarking about how all that are on his show are not “mythical creatures,” he hinted at footage he has.

He told the reporter:

“Well, to me a monster is anything that’s out of place, maybe it’s overgrown, maybe it’s totally unknown to science. We just filmed the first freshwater shark for instance in a river. In an area where a guy’s got his fishing dock and swimming platform and there’s a 22 foot shark swimming below his dock. To me that’s an amazing monster.”

Perhaps that is footage for a future show or tonight’s (described below)?

Sharks have terrified people for centuries and deep within the forbidding waters of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula may lurk a mammoth sixty foot monster. Could it be a new giant species or some living relic, hidden in the sea? In prehistoric times, huge carnivorous sharks, more than twice the size of a great white, ruled the waves. Marine experts claim these giants went extinct, but evidence may challenge that. Meanwhile, frightened Mexican fisherman talk of being stalked by a ‘Black Demon’; and sailors report close collisions with a shark unlike anything that they have encountered before. In a search for answers, MonsterQuest uses a combined air and sea search for this monster shark that may be prowling the last unexplored frontier of our planet.

Don’t forget. The “Gators of the Sewers” program is re-broadcast right before both showings of the new episode.


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Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

15 Responses to “Meg Debate Has Bite”

  1. cliff responds:

    Seeing a 22′ long freshwater shark would indeed be amazing footage. I have to wonder what species of shark we are talking about though at that length. I did a little research on the subject and can’t find many species of sharks that grow to that length. The Great White is known to grow up to 6 to 6.5 meters (approx. 20-22 feet), so they certainly fit the description. However the other species I thought of immediately in freshwater, the bull shark, is only reported to grow up to 3.5 meters (approx. 12′). I’m sure there are quite a few species that I am unaware of, and the article above doesn’t mention where this specimen was filmed at, so I’m very curious to know what kind of shark this could be.

    I won’t be able to see that episode until next week when they re-air it before the new episode, did they show the footage of the shark, or are we going to have to wait for a future episode?

  2. mrbf2006 responds:

    Even though the results of the episode the other night turned up a whale shark, there is always the possibility (a very terrifying possibility) that Megalodon shares our oceans with us. It is true that murky water and poor visibility can create monster sharks, but how does that explain some of the attacks on whales and seals in the Sea of Cortez? I have read about giant sharks possibly still existing in Richard Ellis’ excellent illustrated shark book, and I think it is something we should not discount just because of the easy explanation of “Well, it was just a whale shark.” There are people who have seen something that was NOT a whale shark at all, but was a giant carnivorous monster. Those sightings do make me wonder if indeed we are sharing our oceans with the giant predators. Fascinating article as always, Loren.

  3. Delawhere responds:

    After watching the episode and the reveal at the end, I will say this was one of the more interesting investigations. I felt the use of the spotter plane and speedboat to coordinate locations was smart and well done.

    I’m not entirely surprised they found what they did but given the rich abundance of food sources in the Sea of Cortez, it would not be surprising that a shark has grown to larger than normal size there. Megalodon? Unlikely. But a big alpha shark? Quite possible.

  4. Weezy responds:

    My post contains spoilers I guess, didn’t know there was such a thing with Monsterquest, lol. I actually really liked this episode. I never expected them to find a giant ancient shark, but it was just a fun episode to me. I liked how they were chasing sharks around in the water, we got to see some cool Megaladon teeth and they actually found a big whale shark, which I love. Sure it didn’t come to the fantastic conclusion people might be looking for, but they probably did solve the mystery of what those fisherman and locals are seeing.

  5. springheeledjack responds:

    The concept and the show idea was really good. However (isn’t there always one), the execution was frustrating. Mainly that MQ contradicted itself over and over throughout the episode.

    With the guys talking about how the sea lions were definitely agitated by a predator, and skittish (I believe that’s the word they used), and then talking about a giant shark predator in the waters based on the testimonies of local fishermen, at the end of the program everyone suddenly did an about face after they found only a whale shark.

    The show frustrated me, not because they didn’t find what they were after, but because they were not consistent with their ideas.

    And, come on, a whale shark? I’ll give reasons as to why whatever is being seen is not a whale shark.

    (A) Whale sharks are not predators, at least not unless you are plankton and krill.

    (B) Whale sharks are not fast swimmers, which does not fit the description of what is rising to the surface there.

    (C) Whale sharks do not have large eyes, and the “black demon” has been described as having large eyes.

    (D) As for the name given by the locals, “The black demon” a whale shark does not really fit that bill either. I know they talked about misidentification due to the murky water, but people have seen the tail and fin and it still doesn’t fit.

    (E) Whale sharks are not going to be perceived by sea lions as predators, and sea lions are not going to show up with large bites taken out of them by whale sharks either.

    Now, I understand MQ left the door open, so to speak, at the end, but they found one whale shark (and of small size and certainly not fitting the size description of what has been seen by the local fisherman), and decided that there was just a lot of misidentification going on.

    I also did not like the fact that MQ ended up belittling the local fishermen by taking that stance: assuming that these people who spend their entire lives on the water don’t know what they are seeing and are just mixing up animals. That is a classic dodge by debunkers: dismissing people’s sightings just on the basis of ignorance and misidentification.

    Other than that, I thought the episode was great >:)

  6. springheeledjack responds:

    Oh, and actually I had a constructive comment for MQ. Dennis Hall is a researcher for Champ and he published ChampQuest2000. I have read that and he claims to have many sightings of Champ.

    One of the suggestions he had for trying to get an actual sighting of Champ was to pick a spot likely for Champ and then go spend time there for many occasions, at the same time of day, everyday that you can. The idea being that if you make yourself part of the normal scenery in an area, an animal such as Champ might come to see you as more of the background rather than something that stands out, and be more likely to come out of the water in your presence.

    My thought last night as they raced speed boats back and forth trying to close in on this predator was whether they wouldn’t have had better luck just positioning 3 or 4 boats in the areas and sitting idle for the bulk of a day or two. Blend in, be part of the normal surface area (and quietly without motors running), and see if something might not come to the surface, either out of curiosity or just because it was used to them being there for a long period of time.

  7. loyalfromlondon responds:

    Yikes, I guess I’m alone in that I thought it was one of the weaker episodes of MonsterQuest. Poor eyewitnesses, no real historical evidence, the entire episode made little sense overall.

    The only bright spot was seeing Steve Alten (if you haven’t read his books yet, start now before the latest in the MEG series hit bookshelves this summer).

    Once everything was said and done with Mega Jaws (what a title!), all we got were two hyper scuba divers and one tired pilot. Oh and this bored viewer.

  8. HIAC21 responds:

    I enjoyed the MQ, however there was one bothersome problem for me. If you are hunting a big shark, why not used the tried and true method, a chum slick? Other than the whale shark shown there was no footage of sharks at all. No blue’s, no dogfish, not even a sand tiger, they must be around.

    Speaking of the Whale Shark. I thought it was pure theatrics that they “dove” on it. When the footage from the airplane showed the big flat snout, I almost shouted “whale shark” at the screen. To my knowledge, big carnivous sharks all have streamlined pointed shouts.

  9. thehoch responds:

    Enjoyed the episode but was disappointed with the ending as well.

    I live in San Diego and I know people who have gone down to Baja for vacation and taken plenty of pictures of whale sharks down there. When the episode first started, I said I hope they aren’t going to find a whale shark. DING DING, I was right.

    From the sky you could tell it looked like a whale shark too.

    Oh well! I do have one interesting tidbit. I had a neighbor who was a marine welder back in the 60s and 70s and use to work out in Baja. He said on more than one occasion when he was out there he saw a “hammerhead” YES a “hammerhead” that was bigger than his boat. The boat was over 35 feet long. He said this thing was a monster. This guy was very, very credible. I believe there definitely are some huge undiscovered sharks out there off of Baja. Just a matter of patience and time.

  10. maslo63 responds:

    “We just filmed the first freshwater shark for instance in a river. In an area where a guy’s got his fishing dock and swimming platform and there’s a 22 foot shark swimming below his dock.”

    I believe he is referring to the greenland shark in the episode “Jaws in Illinois”.

  11. MattBille responds:

    A very interesting topic. (I missed the show in a DVD recorder glitch, will have to catch the next broadcast.)

    I think the monster great white report from New Zealand is a genuine mystery, though some other gigantic shark reports I’ve read may concern basking or whale sharks.

    Largest C. carcharias landed and accurately measured: under 7m. (See Ellis and McCosker, Great White Shark).

    This was also in the range of the largest sharks reported from the extensive study of great whites made off the Farallon Islands (per Susan Casey’s book The Devil’s Teeth).

    One expert’s estimate from bite marks on a whale off Australia: almost 8m. Recently announced (estimated) max for prehistoric C. carcharias (not the distantly related Megalodon): 9.1m

    A great white approaching the size of the largest orcas is big enough to be called a “monster.” One of the big names in ecology, Paul Colinvaux, wrote that the known size of the great white shark is about as large a predatory fish as a modern aquatic ecosystem will allow.

    Certainly an “outlier” great white of 7 to 8m might be reported as considerably longer by a startled witness.

    So what’s really out there… ?

  12. cryptidsrus responds:

    Loved the episode.

    Don’t see why A MEG in that area is so unbelievable.

    Disappointment is tempered by the fact that the “quest” goes on.

  13. Dj Plasmic Nebula responds:

    I think well.

    okay it was a whale shark, but what if that was the second fish they saw? what if the megalodon or whatever, it was, they saw it form the hellicopte?

    i mean they can’t just say it’s mistaken iden.

    cause of that.. any marine animal could go to that waters…

    just that they went at the wrong time. 😀

    i’m not just going to say it’s mistaken just cause they didnt’ see it.. they can’t talk speak for anybody else.

  14. mystery_man responds:

    I tend to disagree with the assertion that the great white is the largest predatory fish that the modern marine ecosystem could possibly support. There are very large modern marine predators, such as the sperm whale, and a good amount of potential food sources, such as whales, for a creature like the megalodon. I haven’t seen any completely convincing argument that a shark this large would not be able to survive in a modern ocean ecosystem. In my opinion, it’s certainly debatable, and not completely far fetched.

    I too am curious to know more about the identity of the 22 foot freshwater shark that was allegedly filmed. The sharks that are known to venture into freshwater, as well as anadromous fish (fish such as salmon and eels that move back and forth between fresh and saltwater) and freshwater elasmobranches (cartilaginous fish) such as sawfish and some rays, have special adaptations that allow them to cope with problems of osmotic pressure. The simplest way I can put it is that basically there is a difference between the “saltiness” in the fish’s body and the water in the environment, which affects the pressure between the two and so the amount of water and salts in the body absorbed from, or lost to, the environment.

    This osmoregulation is key for any fish going between fresh and salt water, since without it a saltwater fish in a freshwater environment will, due to differences of osmotic pressure, experience a huge influx of water into their system. This water will tax the internal organs, in particular the kidneys, damage cells, and cause large amounts of salt to be lost to the environment. This is why without certain adaptations, saltwater fish in freshwater will die. For instance, in bull sharks, there is usually a huge reduction in the sodium and urea content of their systems, as well as increased kidney activity. There are a range of osmoregulatory strategies that fish species that go between freshwater and saltwater use to deal with this challenge.

    The problem I see here, is that there is no known saltwater fish that large (22 feet), which is known to live in or enter freshwater on any kind of regular basis. Great white sharks have been on reported in freshwater, but in my opinion these are freak occurrences for this species. There is no evidence that I know of that great whites have shown they demonstrate any particular tolerance for the differing salinity involved, and they are certainly not currently known to regularly enter brackish or freshwater environments. A freshwater environment could very well kill them before too long. If the reported shark was a great white, it would be very interesting indeed.

  15. Krimeg responds:

    This “Black demon” may have been a very large great white shark or an another species or yet a new species of lamnid shark. If it had big eyes, it would dwell perhaps in deep waters during the day and near the surface when comes the night.

Sorry. Comments have been closed.

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