Whale Shark vs Megalodon: Who Wins And Comparative Analysis


Megalodon was one of the humongous sharks that ever existed on the planet. Although they exist no more, it would be interesting to compare and contrast them with modern-day whale sharks.

Megalodon and whale sharks both belong to the shark family. Both are enormous and have many distinguishing characteristics that humans find fascinating. Megalodons, however, were highly aggressive, but whale sharks are more gentle and prefer to interact with humans more socially.

Whale Shark vs Megalodon

Image Credit: 16 meters long Megalodon representation in “Museo de la Evolucion” by Sergiodlarosa (CC BY-SA 4.0) from Wikimedia
Image Credit: A whale shark by TANAKA Juuyoh (CC BY 2.0) from Pxhere

We have some frequently asked questions about both a megalodon and a whale shark in our minds. As a result, we have devoted this post to researching these animals and determining who would win in a fight between these two sharks.

This post does not intend to offer any scientific explanations, but list out detailed information that will enrich the knowledge base of the readers. So, let’s begin without further delays. 

Whale Shark vs. Megalodon: Basic Facts

Before we understand who will win in a fight between a megalodon and a whale shark, let’s review some basic information about both species. After that, we’ll picture potential combat between a megalodon and a whale shark.

Comparing ParametersWhale SharkMegalodon
Scientific nameRhincodon typusOtodus megalodon
FamilyRhincodontidaeOtodontidae
GenusRhincodonOtodus
DistributionWarm waters Almost all major marine environments. Most fossils have been found in Europe, Africa, the Americas, and Australia.
Weight21.5 tons or 43000 lbs50-75 tons
LengthUp to 40 feet Up to 67 feet
Swim speed3 mph11 mph
DietFilter feedersWhales, sea turtles, etc. 
SensesMainly the Ampullae of LorenziniSmell, Good (low-light) vision, Ampullae of Lorenzini, Hearing
Bite forceThey do not bite or chew40000 psi
Danger to humansNot likelyThought to be aggressive towards humans if were alive.
LifespanMaybe up to 150 years88- 100 years

Were Megalodon Sharks real?

We have never seen a living megalodon. Hence, the question that often triggers is whether these sharks were actual or a myth? Let’s explore before beginning our comparative study.

Megalodon sharks existed. These sharks were mackerel shark species that thrived between 23 and 3.6 million years ago and are now extinct. They were one of the largest fishes because of their enormous size. The body of these fishes, like that of other sharks, was made of cartilage, and the enamel-coated teeth are the most common relics.

Scientists have rebuilt their correct size and weight from their teeth, which is mesmerizingly huge. Megalodons had blunter and wider jaws than modern-day great white sharks, but they looked a lot like them. These extinct shark species had a crescent-shaped tail fin, as well as a smaller anal fin and second dorsal fin, which they share with whale sharks.

What makes Megalodon different from other sharks?

Image Credit: Megalodon jaw by Ryan Somma (CC BY-SA 2.0) from Wikimedia

Megalodon (Carcharocles megalodon) was formerly the top predator in the ocean. These sharks were the biggest of all sharks, and they ruled the food chain. But what was it about them that made them so special?

Megalodon sharks are distinct from modern-day sharks for several reasons. The size and weight of these sharks (up to 75 tons/75 feet) are the initial considerations. Megalodons were the world’s largest sharks, according to historical records. Another element that draws people’s attention to the once-monstrous megalodon sharks is their fearsome bite.

Megalodons are commonly thought to be the stuff of nightmares. Humans and smaller fishes might not have been able to swim in the ocean without fear if they were alive today.

Keep in mind that these gigantic sharks plagued waters approximately 2 million years ago. They were unmistakably real!

Key factors to consider in a fight between a Megalodon and a Whale Shark

Most sharks are aggressive and won’t mind fighting their own at times. If we are imagining a hypothetical fight between a megalodon and a whale shark, it is worth looking into the key factors that can be taken into account. 

Some of the key factors that can be considered while judging the fight between a megalodon and whale sharks are given below.

  • Physical size
  • Weight
  • Bite force
  • Hunting style
  • Speed
  • Aggression
  • Prowess
  • Defense system

In the following sections, we will discuss all the above-stated factors to conclude which shark will win the fight.

Will a Whale Shark go in a fight with a Megalodon?

Image Credit: A whale shark underwater from Hippopx

We are imagining a potential fight between a megalodon and a whale shark. The former is extinct. So, if it was an actual situation, will a whale go into combat with a megalodon?

The answer to the above is that possibly a whale shark will not indulge in a fight with a megalodon. Whale sharks are docile and primarily filter feeders. And also they are much smaller than megalodon sharks. So the propensity is very less that they will ever attack the giant monster of the ocean.

However, if viewed through the eyes of a megalodon, the situation could be very different. Megalodon would have been larger and more vicious than a whale shark. As a result, they may easily attack and kill a whale shark.

It’s worth noting that they used to attack and hunt humpback and sperm whales when they were still there. Whale sharks are substantially smaller than these whales. So, while a megalodon would not have objected to a fight with a whale shark, the latter would not have done so.

Whale Shark vs. Megalodon: Which One is Bigger?

Image Credit: Megalodon scale by Scarlet23 (CC BY-SA 3.0) from Wikimedia

The size and weight of these two sharks are different. Let’s inspect these variables and compare them to gain a clearer picture in this context.

Megalodons are gone, but they were massive. Megalodons are estimated to be up to 67 feet long and weigh between 50 and 75 tonnes. Whale sharks, on the other hand, are the world’s largest living fish species, reaching a maximum size of 40 feet and weighing up to 21.5 tonnes.

Although whale sharks are the largest sharks alive today, megalodons are the largest sharks that have ever existed on earth.

In the context of size, the meg is in the upper position.

Whale Shark vs. Megalodon: Hunting Process

The hunting process of a shark tells a lot of things about its ability to survive in the face of adversities. So, let us compare the hunting style of a megalodon and a whale shark.

Megalodon sharks were apex predators that fed on whales, sea turtles, whales, and smaller sharks. If fossils are to be believed, megalodons lurked beneath their target before leaping upwards and taking a big chomp. Whale sharks, on the other hand, are filter feeders who eat plankton, crustaceans, and small fish with their teeth.

It’s noteworthy to see that these two shark species have vastly different daily dietary requirements. The massive megalodons required 2,500 pounds of food per day, whereas whale sharks consume only 45 pounds in a day.

In terms of the hunting process, megalodons displayed more aggressive approaches.

Could a Megalodon eat a Whale Shark?

Megalodons were of mega-size. However, if there’s a fight between them and whale sharks, is it possible that the former can eat the latter?

If a megalodon comes upon a whale shark, it will probably attack and eat the latter. Megalodons possessed teeth that were approximately 7 inches long. It would have been rather simple for them to locate and remove a huge portion of meat from the smaller whale shark.

It’s important to note that whale sharks are non-aggressive and have limited defense capabilities. As a result, being attacked and killed by a megalodon would not have come as a shock.

Megalodons could easily kill and bit off chunks from a whale shark in a fight.

Whale Shark vs. Megalodon: Aggression 

Sharks are often synonymous with aggression. But not all sharks have sharp teeth and have an attacking tendency. So is there any difference between a shale shark and a megalodon in this context?

In terms of aggression, a megalodon would have had an upper hand over a whale shark. These sharks were huge, with long sharp teeth, and fed on medium to large size marine creatures. On the other hand, whale sharks are docile and have almost useless teeth. They are mainly filter feeders. Also, they do not attack other creatures if are not threatened.

Megalodons were more aggressive than any other shark, including the whale sharks.

Whale Shark vs. Megalodon: Teeth Size and Bite Force

The bite force is connected with predatory organisms which prefer to bite their prey before devouring it. Although both megalodon and whale sharks have teeth, what are the differences between them in this context?

Megalodons have teeth that are almost 7 inches long. The biting force of these colossal sharks was around 40000psi, which was greater than that of T. Rex. Whale sharks, on the other side, do not bite their prey despite having teeth that are less than 6mm long. These sharks filter feeders.

Biting power and teeth size give the megalodon the upper hand.

Whale Shark vs. Megalodon: Swimming Speed

Swimming speed is something that offers agility to sharks. It is also a deciding factor that can determine how well a shark can attack or run away from any potential threat.

In this context, a megalodon is estimated to have a swimming speed of 11 mph, while a whale shark can swim at a speed of a mere 3 mph. Furthermore, a whale shark can accelerate to about 4 mph when felt threatened.

Whatever the case may be, in a situation of an attack, it is a megalodon that would have outpaced a whale shark. 

Megalodon has a better swim speed than whale sharks.

Whale Shark vs. Megalodon: Defense Systems

A defense system is something that helps any creature to protect themselves when they face any threat. So what can be told about the defense system of a megalodon vs. a whale shark?

Megalodon’s biggest defense system was its massive size, jaws (massive jaws, 6.5 feet in diameter), and 7-inch long teeth. Furthermore, they had the strongest bite force at 40000 psi. On the other side, whale sharks primarily depend on their enormous size to deter predators. These sharks neither have long sharp teeth nor wear an aggressive demeanor. 

So, it would not be wrong to state that between a megalodon and a whale shark, the former had a better defense system. And if they ever had to fight each other, a megalodon would have inflicted more harm and severe injury to a whale shark. 

Megalodon had a far better defense system than whale sharks.

Which shark can defeat a Megalodon?

There is no doubt that megalodons were once the terrifying predators in the marine world. They had no natural predators. But could any have ever defeated the meg?

Even though megalodons were once the kings of the sea, it is commonly suggested that these sharks might be defeated by Aust Colossus or a Livyatan. Although experts are split on the subject. However, if that had happened today, there might not have been a predator to hunt down the gigantic megalodons.

Summary

So who is the winner? The answer is pretty apparent- the meg. A megalodon would win a fight against a whale shark for a range of factors. The foremost reason that would support the meg is its enormous size, followed by its teeth size, bite power, predatory behavior, swim speed, and combat capabilities. In a fight, therefore, the megalodon would approach first and would not mind using its strength and teeth to inflict a massive bite on the whale shark.

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