Megalodon, Largest Shark that Ever Lived

Exhibits at the Virginia Living Museum this fall

11/20/2009  |  VIRGINIA GABRIELE

You may have seen the movie Jaws,but you’ve never seen jaws like these.They belonged to a behemoth 60 feet long, whose giant mouth bristled with 276 teeth.

It was the Megalodon, a prehistoric shark that ruled the seas more than two million years ago. It comes to life again in Megalodon, Largest Shark that Ever Lived, on exhibit at the Virginia Living Museum in Newport News through Jan. 10.

This traveling exhibit from the Florida Museum of Natural History features a 60-foot-long walk-through sculpture of the giant fish.

Visitors enter the full-size sculpture through its massive jaws and discover this shark’s history and the world it inhabited, including its size, structure, diet, lifespan, relatives, neighbors, evolution and extinction.

Megalodon does more than marvel at a prehistoric giant. It tells the history of the shark family, displaying both fossil and modern shark specimens as well as full-scale models from several collec-tions.Their fascinating story contains lessons for modern science and shark conservation, and on improving the health of our oceans and survival of threatened species.

Sharks have been around for more than 400 million years, or about 200 million years before dinosaurs.There are more than 375 species of sharks living today. But now they face an even more fearsome predator — man.

For those wondering why we need sharks, Megalodon asks observers to consider the domino effect on the marine food web caused by this over fishing.

The companion planetarium program is“TheFuture IsWild.”Tyrannosaurus Rex — Velociraptors— Megalodon — the Earth’s past is filled with deadly predators on a fantastic scale. But what hunters will stalk the planet in five million years? Or 100 million? Or even 200 million years in the future? Based on a wildly successful international television series,“The Future isWild” providesaglimpse atwhatmightbe the future ofthe animal kingdom on planet Earth.

From Feb. 26 through April 25, 2010, the museum presents “Beguiledby theWild,”aretrospectiveof works bymodern American artist Charley Harper (1922-2007) whose life-long love of nature inspired his work.

Harper was best known for his highly stylized wildlife prints, posters and book illustrations. He called his style “minimal realism,”capturing the essence of his subjects with the fewest possible visual elements.

Virginia’s natural heritage comes alive at the Virginia Living Museum.The museum introduces visitors to more than 250 living species native to Virginia through exhibits, discovery centers and interactive hands-on exhibits.Visitors can view endangered red wolves. Get up close to a loggerhead turtle and moon jellies. See fish with no eyes and frogs that change colors, plus touch live spider crabs and fossilized dinosaur tracks.

The museum’s professionally trained educators present hands-on natural science curricula that are grade-level targeted and correlated to national standards.

Students in grades 6-12 can experience amphibians, fossils, minerals, weather or real-world environmental challenges in science labs or attend an assembly-style program about how animals face the daily challenges of survival.

Call 757-595-1900 or visit

Virginia Gabriele is the Marketing Director at the Virginia Living Museum.
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