The University of Pisa found the megalodon was a picky eater – which led to its extinction. Fossils show the ancient shark was unable to adapt once its food supply was killed off by climate change.

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Thanks to recent scientific research, we parents now have a true (perhaps a little scary) story to tell our kids when they want to eat only hot dogs or mac ‘n cheese or PB&J – every meal, every day.

We can tell them about the megalodon, a massive shark with teeth over seven inches and a jaw 11 feet wide and almost nine feet tall.  The megalodon was thought to grow to “an incredible 59 feet (18m) long.”   This giant of a shark, who seemed to have everything going for him, especially size, mysteriously became extinct.  Here’s what scientists think happened – in kid-speak.

Once upon a time, over two million years ago, a giant shark called Megalodon swam happily in the “warm ocean waters of the coast of America, around Europe and in the Indian Ocean.” Megalodon was the biggest shark of all, and he loved, more than anything else, to feast on dwarf whales who swam in the same warm waters.  In fact, Megalodon loved dwarf whales so much, he ate them every day for every meal – breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack time.  

Life was wonderful for Megalodon until “a cooling climate” breezed in and made the waters cold.  The dwarf whales didn’t like the cold waters and couldn’t live in them.  They shivered and shivered until they all died off.  Megalodon was sad.  He missed his meal times and he was hungry.  He looked and looked but couldn’t find any other whales or fish that tasted as yummy as the dwarf whale. Megalodon was very hungry, but he was also stubborn and a very picky predator.  

“If I can’t eat a dwarf whale, I’m not going to eat anything at all,” he announced loudly.  

And that’s exactly what he did.  Megalodon didn’t eat anything – not for breakfast, lunch, dinner or for snack time.  So, without having his favorite food to munch on and sustain him, Megalodon died and sadly became extinct.

So, there you have it, kids.  Take a lesson from the megalodon.  Eating a variety of foods is good for you and makes for a long life.

Another lesson we might take from the story that those who are averse to change may have a difficult future.  But, of course, that applies only to sharks, doesn’t it?