Discovery Channel, originator of the mermaid “documentary”, is now hyping the idea that the giant prehistoric shark, Megalodon, is still alive out there. Once again, they are getting pummeled by actual scientists and science writers whom they did not seek to consult.
Take a look at their promotional video.
Megalodon went extinct 2 million years ago. But he is still popular in culture because, COME ON, IT’S A GIANT SHARK! How can you not love that idea?
By just suggesting that Megalodon is still alive is a signal that they are off on the fantasy trail since no scientist currently would agree there is good evidence it still exists. Another epic fail. How low can you go, Discovery? The only thing positive I can say about this is that at least Megalodon once DID actually exist and they are going to be talking about what we do know about it from fossil evidence (at least I would guess they would talk about that), which is WAY more than you can say about mermaids. (Note that Megalodon appeared in the “Mermaids” documentary)
I’m not against Shark Week on Discovery because sharks need our protection, not our derision. However, I do not condone efforts like this that use fake graphics, mock ups and unwarranted speculation to present a false idea about nature. It’s disingenuous and, sadly, Discovery (and its sister network Animal Planet) seems bent on that marketing idea. As Ed Yong said, “pathetic”. I agree.
Here are some other responses:
UPDATE (4-Aug-13): Brian Switek now has this post up.
The fossil record for C. megalodon peters out in sediments about 2 million years old. The only teeth so far found in younger deposits have been reworked from older strata. Furthermore, there are no giant, fresh teeth littering the seafloor, no whale carcasses with distinctive bite marks washing up on shore, and no tangible evidence whatsoever that the shark exists. And all the stories… are just stories.
Addition: Snopes debunks part of the show. Because, yes, people DO believe it’s real.
Record ratings. That’s just great…
Feel free to express your disgust to Discovery Channel. I did, on their Facebook page.
UPDATE (9-Aug-13) Discovery gets pwned by the Daily Show. Also, see this post by Brian Switek. Yes, Discovery, you suck monster shark balls.
Discovery is a joke: It Came From Basic Cable – Phenomena: Laelaps.