At 60 feet long, Carcharodon megalodon was the largest shark that ever lived and a dominant marine predator. Sharks are at risk today, with recent population declines attributed to humans. While the Megalodon vanished 2 million years ago, its fascinating story inspires lessons for contemporary science and shark conservation. “Megalodon: Largest Shark that Ever Lived” opens February 13 and runs through May 9, 2010.
This unique exhibit showcases both fossil and modern shark specimens, as well as full-scale models from several collections. Visitors enter a full-sized sculpture of Megalodon through massive jaws and discover this shark’s history and the world it inhabited, including its physiology, diet, lifespan, relatives, neighbors, evolution and extinction.
The exhibit also provides details on how to improve the health of our oceans and survival of threatened species. Recent worldwide declines are attributed to commercial and sport overfishing. Scientists estimate that humans kill 100 million sharks, skates and rays each year, and the life history of most shark species makes it difficult for populations to rebound.
Another section describes how this animal continues to fascinate many, elevating the Megalodon to near cult status. From biker jackets to postage stamps, the exhibition explains the many ways that the Megalodon remains a part of human culture through art, literature, music and film.
Tickets: $7 Adults; $5 Seniors/Students; $4 Children (5–11); free to Members. Tickets are available online at naturalsciences.org and at the Museum Box Office (919-733-7450 x212). The exhibit is sponsored by PotashCorp with additional support from 94.7 QDR, UNC-TV and CW22.
Shark Illustration Contest
To help celebrate this new exhibit, we are asking kids to illustrate their best and most realistic version of a shark in its natural surroundings. Judging will be based on artistic ability and scientific accuracy. Two winners from each of four age groups (Kindergarten & Under, Grades 1–3, Grades 4–6, Grades 7–9) will receive a prize and have their illustration displayed in the Museum Store. All entrants receive one free admission to “Megalodon.” Illustrations will be accepted through March 15, 2010. For more information, including contest rules and entry forms, visit us online at naturalsciences.org or stop by the Museum Store.
For those wondering why sharks should be saved, the exhibit asks visitors to consider the marine food-web domino effect caused by overfishing. Another section describes how this animal continues to fascinate many, elevating the Megalodon to near cult status. From biker jackets to postage stamps, the exhibition explains the many ways that the Megalodon remains a part of human culture through art, literature, music and film.
The NC Museum of Natural Sciences is located in downtown Raleigh at 11 West Jones Street. Parking is available on the street and in surface lots along Wilmington and Edenton streets. For more information, contact Steve Popson at 919-733-7450 x379.