FACT CHECK: Does This Image Show A Megalodon In The 1940s?
An image shared on Facebook allegedly shows a Megalodon swimming alongside a German U-boat in the 1940s.
The photo appears to be an altered version of a frame taken from real U-boat footage. There is no evidence that any scientist has suggested the image is genuine or shows an extinct Megalodon.
Megalodons were allegedly the biggest shark species ever recorded, with some growing to about 60 feet long, according to the National Museum of Natural History. Their extinction is thought to have occurred roughly 3.6 million years ago due to changes in the ocean’s temperature and food chain evolution, the U.K.’s Natural History Museum says.
In the Facebook image, two fins listed as 64 feet apart appear to be visible in the water behind a submarine. “Photo from the 1940s of what many scientists believe to be an extinct megalodon swimming next to a German U-boat,” reads text included in the image. (RELATED: Does This Image Show Trees Growing Through Chairs Set Up For A Wedding In Poland Before The Nazi Invasion?)
The purported picture first appeared in a Discovery Channel program titled “Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives,” as part of the network’s “Shark Week” lineup in 2013. In the show, a marine biologist named Collin Drake suggests the finned creature in the picture could have caused a recent shipwreck in April 2013, according to the show’s description.
“Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives” featured disclaimers noting that certain events had been “dramatized” and “none of the institutions or agencies that appear in the film are affiliated with it in any way, nor have approved its contents,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. The documentary provoked a backlash after some claimed it lied in presenting itself as a real scientific documentary, Business Insider reported.
The image of the alleged Megalodon featured in the show and the Facebook post appears to be altered. The fins in the image were added into a still frame from genuine footage of a U-boat filmed far away from Cape Town, South Africa, according to George Monbiot, a columnist for The Guardian. An unedited frame from the authentic footage was shared by The Verge. It shows what appears to be two U-boats, but no fins.
Check Your Fact could not locate a single credible news report online of scientists claiming that the image shows a Megalodon, nor any independent record of a shark-focused marine biologist named Collin Drake. Actor Darron Meyer, who portrayed the character in “Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives,” has appeared in “Doctor Who” and other fictional series, according to IMDb.
Check Your Fact previously debunked an image from September 2020 claiming to show sharks caught on power lines in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura.