Chances are this purported "megalodon video" has popped up in your news feed this week – unsurprisingly, it racked up over 700,000 views in just a few short hours, and kept on going. The footage certainly features a large, deep-sea shark, but the animal is unquestionably not megalodon.


For starters, megalodon is extinct – and has been for millions of years (despite what fake documentaries like "Megalodon – The Monster Shark Lives" and "Megalodon: The New Evidence" would have you believe). Our best estimates suggest the species was snuffed out about 1.6 million years ago, at a time when the shifting marine environment no longer supported these giant beasts. Not convinced? There are great resources on this here, here, here and here

What we're looking at, in fact, is a Pacific sleeper shark (Somniosus pacificus), a close relative of the better-known Greenland shark (Somniosus microcephalous). Buzz Channel, who posted the video to their Facebook page, actually references this correct ID in the description:

"A 50 foot shark has been found 1 mile down the Marina [sic] Trench," they write. "At first, many thought it was a Pacific sleeper shark. The issue with that theory is the Pacific sleeper shark grow [sic] only to 20 feet, the shark featured is 50+ feet long. That measurement is estimated using the length of the cage, which is 10 feet across."

Let's hit pause right there. In reality, the cage in the footage is a small bait cage, not the diving cage Buzz Channel's size estimate is based on. And that "#breaking" footage? It wasn't filmed in the depths of the Mariana Trench. The encounter was actually recorded by a submersible in Japan's Suruga Bay, as stated in this 2008 YouTube clip: 

Also known as "mud sharks", Pacific sleepers are known to inhabit cold, deep waters, ranging from Japan to Baja California, so this deep-sea sighting – while certainly interesting – is nothing out of the ordinary. Want to learn more? We've got you covered:



Top header image: NOAA Photo Library, Flickr