A story in circulation today claims that a 15-ton megalodon – a prehistoric shark – was discovered off of the coast of Pakistan. Is this story true or false?
The Story is Fake.
It comes from the fake news website World News Daily Report. In the fictional story, we read that a 15-ton megalodon – a long-extinct shark – was captured by fisherman off the coast of Pakistan. The false story describes the creature as the largest shark ever captured, weighing in at 15.6 tons (about 31,200 pounds).
The story also mentions Smithsonian paleontologist Jeff Mayor and a local marine biologist by the name of Rajar Muhammar. A cursory Google search for these two men yields on the fake report by World News Daily Report.
World News Daily Report
This is not the first fake viral story to originate from this fake news website. Back in late July, a report that a Japanese whaling crew had been killed by a school of killer whales also heavily circulated.
A photo included with the story can be found from reports dating back to 2009. The shark seen in that photo was described as 700kg (about 1550 pounds), nowhere near the size described in the World News Daily Report story.
Conservation authorities attempted to save the shark in the photo by towing it out to sea. The creature became disoriented and died after being entangled in shark nets.
What is the World’s Largest Shark?
The largest official rod-caught shark was the 2664 pound specimen caught by Alf Dean back in 1959. An unofficial 4600 pound shark was also reported in recent years. A 30,000 pound shark suggested by the fake story is far beyond what exists in the oceans today.
The long-extinct megalodon has gained attention in recent years via features by the Discovery Channel during “Shark Week.” The channel has been criticized for fake documentaries claiming the existence of the megalodon over the past two years. It seems possible that World News Daily Report’s fake report may have been inspired by the Discovery Channel’s megalodon segments.
The story claiming that a 15-ton megalodon shark was discovered off the coast of Pakistan is fake. It comes from the false news website World News Daily Report.