The question isn’t necessarily whether Megalodon is real or fake, but whether the ancient shark still exists.
Mermaid fans were in an uproar when Animal Planet aired “Mermaids: The Body Found” and “Mermaids: The New Evidence,” since the mockumentary, or fake documentary, was presented as real. Similar reactions surfaced on social media after the channel kicked off its infamous shark week with another hoax program that was presented as something based on fact.
“Though certain events and characters in this film have been dramatized, sightings of [the giant creature] continue to this day. Megalodon was a real shark. Legends of giant sharks persist all over the world. There is still debate about what they might be,” a message read at the end of the episode, according to Fox News.
It wasn’t made clear that the enormous shark no longer existed until the program finished, which left thousands of fans irate. Many felt like they had been duped once again, The Atlantic Wire wrote.
Despite the backlash, Shark Week executive producer Michael Sorensen stood by his decision to include the mockumentary. He told Fox News: “With a whole week of Shark Week programming ahead of us, we wanted to explore the possibilities of Megalodon.
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“It’s one of the most debated shark discussions of all time, can Megalodon exist today? It’s Ultimate Shark Week fantasy. The stories have been out there for years, and with 95 percent of the ocean unexplored, who really knows?”
Megalodon, which is believed to be the largest shark that ever lived, became extinct nearly 2 million years ago, according to the Florida Museum of Natural History, and roamed the ocean for approximately 15 million years before it vanished. The giant fish was about 60 feet long and could weigh up to 77 tons.
For those who missed it, Discovery Channel is set to air “Megalodon: The Monster That Lives” on Sunday at 10 a.m. EDT.