Megalodon (Carcharocles megalodon), meaning "big tooth", is an extinct species of shark that lived approximately 23 to 3. 6 million years ago (mya), during the Early Miocene to the Pliocene. It was formerly thought to be a member of the family Lamnidae, and a close relative of the great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias). However, presently there is near unanimous consensus that it belongs to the extinct family Otodontidae, which diverged from the ancestry of the great white shark during the Early Cretaceous. Its genus placement is still debated, authors placing it in either Carcharocles, Megaselachus, Otodus, or Procarcharodon. This is due to the fact that unlike most fossils, the fossil record of sharks teeth is good enough that the transitional fossils between different species can be found, and that Megalodon itself can be understood as the final chronospecies of a number of giant sharks originally of the genus Otodus during the Paleocene.