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It's basically just a big frakking shark. ''Carcharodon megalodon'' (or [[ScienceMarchesOn possibly]] ''Carcharocles megalodon'' - see [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megaladon#Taxonomy the other wiki]] for details) lived from 25 to 1.5 million years ago, grew up to 20 metres at its most favourable estimates, was an opportunistic predator, and is believed by some to have died out because it couldn't compete with the killer whale, who could handle the cold waters better. However in low grade schlock movies it will be uncovered after being frozen in ice and go on a superhunting rampage, tracking down our intrepid heroes all over the world before eating Boeing 747's in a single bite ''while flying''.

The appeal is simple. Being prehistoric it is a bit like a dinosaur, and ''Film/JurassicPark'' was cool. It's a shark, and ''Film/{{Jaws}}'' is not only cool but the TropeCodifier for creature attack movies. It was the biggest of its kind, just like Creator/StevenSpielberg's Oscar cabinet. Evidently, this generation is the one who became film directors because of Steven Spielberg.

SubTrope of both ThreateningShark and SeaMonster. Compare KrakenAndLeviathan; GiantSquid.

Probably deserves honorary mention among StockDinosaurs, though nobody would mistake it for one.

Note that "megalodon" is the animal's specific epithet, not the generic name, so it should not be capitalized.

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!! Examples:

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[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Megalodons are briefly seen living in the waters near Themyscria during GailSimone's run on ''WonderWoman''. Steve Trevor [[OhCrap reacts appropriately]] when one lunges at him.
** Justified, as Themyscria is home to many extinct, or supposedly mythical, creatures.
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[[folder:Fanfic]]
* In ''Fanfic/TheSwarmOfWar'', the new Overmind make a swimming Zerg unit which is one of these. Itís even called the Carcharlisk.
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[[folder:Film]]
* ''Film/MegaSharkVsGiantOctopus''
* ''Film/SharkAttack3Megalodon''.
* ''Megalodon'': A 2002 shark film about oil drillers near Greenland who [[BeneaththeEarth uncover]] a huge deposit of surviving prehistoric animals (including the megalodon) which goes on a killing spree and even crashes an airborne ''helicopter'' from deep below the surface which singlehandedly ruins everyone's day. At the end of it all one of the characters makes a HeroicSacrifice and the survivors get away...[[FromBadToWorse until ANOTHER one pops out]].
* In ''Shark Hunter'', the main character is orphaned as a kid by a megalodon. As an adult, he joins a team going into a trench to figure out the fate of an underwater research station. Of course, it was destroyed by a megalodon, which ends up assaulting the sub and causing general death and destruction.
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[[folder:Literature]]
* ''Megalodon'' by Robin Brown came out in 1981, before the prehistoric megashark became a household name (resulting in the novel being republished under the uninspiring name of ''Shark'') and is still one of the better efforts. The idea of megalodon being a shallow water predator is lampshaded, with the book detailing how they've evolved to survive in a deep-sea trench -- basically they've become bottom-feeders scavenging off waste floating down from above, with eyes so adapted to the darkness that the megalodon can't go anywhere near the surface without intense pain. Unfortunately the US Navy is sending down submarines to survey the trench with intent to mine its rich load of gold and uranium, at the same time that the megalodon family gives birth to a more hungry and aggressive offspring.
* Steve Alten writes a lot of books with these; his novel ''{{Meg}}'' was about a megalodon that makes it to the surface after surviving down in the Mariana Trench. HilarityEnsues.
* ''Extinct'' by Charles Wilson (one which was almost made into a TV miniseries)
* The ''Shark Wars'' series by EJ Altbacker stars a megalodon named Gray.
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[[folder: Live Action TV]]
* A megalodon features in two episodes of the ''Series/WalkingWithDinosaurs'' spin off ''Sea Monsters.''
* Megalodon gets its own episode in the Creator/NationalGeographicChannel series ''Prehistoric Predators.''
* The titular shark was featured in Discovery Channel's Shark Week mockumentary ''Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives,'' a SpiritualSuccessor to ''MermaidsTheBodyFound'', which itself featured a Megalodon.
* TheHistoryChannel series, JurassicFightClub, featured the Megalodon in an episode called ''Deep Sea Killers.'' It portrayed a deadly battle between Megalodon and Brygmophyseter, a prehistoric whale.
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[[folder:Music]]
* Music/{{Mastodon}}'s second album, ''Leviathan'', particularly the song "Megalodon".
* "Megladon (sic) Jaw" by underground Seattle rapper P-Wrecks.
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[[folder: Tabletop Games]]
* In Chaosium's ''Stormbringer'' supplement ''Demon Magic'', the adventure "Sorcerer's Isle" had a megalodon that could sink ships by biting through their hulls and a giant whale-like demon named [[KrakenAndLeviathan Lvthn]].
* Megalodons appear in WhiteWolf's ''TabletopGame/{{Scion}}'' as part of the monstrous fauna the Drowned Road, Titan of Water, controls.
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[[folder: Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Scribblenauts}}'' has a megalodon as one of its summonable creatures.
* ''VideoGame/TheOceanHunter'' uses Megalodon as its version of Leviathan, the boss of the second stage.
* ''ChampionsOnline'' features a giant mutated shark [[InNameOnly named Megalodon]]. It was planed to be a boss, but has not been implemented as one so far.
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[[folder: Web comics]]
* ''Webcomic/SchlockMercenary'' mentions out of hand that megalodons were [[FossilRevival genetically recreated]] sometime between the 21st and 31st centuries, then hunted back to extinction. Then, real-time years later some mad scientist on a resort planet clones a bunch of different species of sea predator, including a megalodon that eats two of the Toughs on vacation ([[TooSpicyForYogSothoth fortunately the second one was wearing his armor]]).
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[[folder: Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TheRealGhostbusters'' episode, ''Play Them Ragtime Boos'', features a scene where the group are transported back in time to the Cenozoic Era in the middle of the ocean, where a hungry megalodon eyes them for lunch. [[ArtisticLicensePaleontology Said megalodon actually looks more like a mosasaur]].
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