As film fans we are all aware of the dangers of shark attacks. If films like Jaws and the numerous shark attack movies have anything to tell us, it’s that a shark is not a creature to be messed with.
An apex predator, it is the master of the sea. So it comes as quite a surprise to find out that recently a great white shark was found devoured. What could have possibly taken down this master of the sea?
The information on the sharks demise came from the findings of a documentary film called Hunt for the Super Predator. This film was originally released as The Search for the Ocean’s Super Predator and was made by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, but repackaged by Smithsonian Channel and rebranded as the above titled feature. It follows film maker Dave Riggs and his crew, who while making this film in Australia as part of a project to track and study the migrations patterns of great white sharks around the coast, discovered something shocking.
It all started when they came across a nine foot female that they named “Shark Alpha,” which the team proceeded to tag. Four months after this tag was found on the beach. On Christmas Eve 2013 the tag recorded something strange. The shark plunged itself down 1900 feet. Then, in a matter of seconds the shark’s body temperature changed from 46 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit. The only way this would have been possible is if the shark was consumed by something else.
What consumed the shark was open to debate. Squids and octopi have been known to be aggressive towards sharks (as the video below demonstrates), but they are not known for taking on anything of this size before.
So what was it? Squid, Octopus, Sharktopus? With further investigation the team finally had the answer. Something which seems like it came straight out of a horror movie is actually very real. The shark’s killer was a much bigger, cannibalistic great white shark.
It was only after further studying the bigger migrating great whites that came into the area where the 9-footer was killed when they finally guessed the identity of the killer.
The scientists claim their new data matched all of the tracking information from the disappeared shark: The body temperature they registered was the same and the size of the cannibal great white shark—which they estimated to be 16 foot long and weigh over 2 tons—could easily pull off the same speed and trajectory captured in the tracking device.
So thoughts of giant kaiju, huge octopi and cloning experiments can now all be thrown out of the window. This is the most logical answer as it is apparently not uncommon for big sharks to eat small shark. It just seems that Shark Alpha found a predator that was even bigger than her.
Image: Smithsonian Channel