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posted by mrpg on Thursday February 01, @02:51AM   Printer-friendly
from the may-or-might? dept.

Great whites, the largest predatory sharks in the world with the most fatal attacks on humans, are tough to imagine as newborn babies. That is partially because no one has seen one in the wild, it seems, until now.

Wildlife filmmaker Carlos Gauna and UC Riverside biology doctoral student Phillip Sternes were scanning the waters for sharks on July 9, 2023, near Santa Barbara on California's central coast. That day, something exciting appeared on the viewfinder of Gauna's drone camera. It was a shark pup unlike any they'd ever seen.

Great whites, referred to only as white sharks by scientists, are gray on top and white on the bottom. But this roughly 5-foot-long shark was pure white.

"We enlarged the images, put them in slow motion, and realized the white layer was being shed from the body as it was swimming," Sternes said. "I believe it was a newborn white shark shedding its embryonic layer."

These observations are documented in a new paper in the Environmental Biology of Fishes journal. The paper also details the significance of having seen a live newborn white shark.

[...] "Where white sharks give birth is one of the holy grails of shark science. No one has ever been able to pinpoint where they are born, nor has anyone seen a newborn baby shark alive," Gauna said. "There have been dead white sharks found inside deceased pregnant mothers. But nothing like this."

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  • (Score: 1, Troll) by Tork on Thursday February 01, @03:30AM

    by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 01, @03:30AM (#1342584)
    Oh yah, this story has been making its rounds around our chat at work. Someone even found some video of the entire family [].
    🏳️‍🌈 Proud Ally 🏳️‍🌈
  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by kboodu on Thursday February 01, @04:11AM (7 children)

    by kboodu (38701) on Thursday February 01, @04:11AM (#1342588)

    We need some way to surreptitiously monitor these and other animals so our presence doesn't disturb them and we can learn more. Miniaturization of our technology will help... Maybe we can waterproof something like a Nano pi and send it down with low light video cameras or infrared to learn more about Great Whites and explore more of the ocean.

    • (Score: 2) by Tork on Thursday February 01, @08:03AM (2 children)

      by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 01, @08:03AM (#1342601)
      I think you're anglin' to say you got Linux running on a shark.
      🏳️‍🌈 Proud Ally 🏳️‍🌈
    • (Score: 3, Informative) by Freeman on Thursday February 01, @03:19PM (3 children)

      by Freeman (732) on Thursday February 01, @03:19PM (#1342647) Journal

      We (humans) went to space in the 1950s and landed on the Moon in 1969. Low pressure / empty space is much easier to deal with than high pressure and a bunch of water/other things to run into.

      We went to the bottom of the Mariana Trench in 2019. Though one might say the 1960s bathyscaphe Trieste may have been able to reach it, they just didn't quite make it. Even with modern technology, going to the bottom of the ocean is a very different proposition than going to space. Space may be unforgiving, but I posit that the deepest depths of the ocean are even more so.

      Though someone did have the raspberry pi + ocean idea and came up with a Raspberry Pi powered ROV (remotely operated vehicle, specifically for use in the ocean). [] []

      Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Runaway1956 on Thursday February 01, @08:38PM (2 children)

        by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 01, @08:38PM (#1342689) Journal

        Actually, there are few recorded instances of Great Whites diving to depths that are dangerous to our current underwater tech. They generally stay in warmer waters near the surface, making forays down to several hundred feet. There was this story - []

        It is necessary to point out that almost every story about that shark insists that it was eaten whole by whatever killed it. That assumption is completely wrong - whatever killed it most assuredly ate the portion of meat to which the tracker was attached. There is no way that anyone can say that the 9 foot shark was swallowed whole, unless they were there to see it. Can't even ascertain that the killer consumed the entire shark in smaller bites, only that the killer consumed the bit with the tracker.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 02, @07:36AM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 02, @07:36AM (#1342762)
          What's the evidence that the killer consumed the bit with the tracker instead of that bit dropping off or getting destroyed?
          • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Runaway1956 on Friday February 02, @02:23PM

            by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 02, @02:23PM (#1342794) Journal

            Ahhh, the tracker was not destroyed. It floated to the surface, washed ashore, and was recovered, after being defecated by the "monster". The tracker supplied evidence that it had passed through the digestive system of something with it's temperature recordings. Immediately after the dive into ever colder waters, the tracker recorded a temperature consistent with the digestive tract of another great white shark. Other predators that might have killed and consumed the victim have different body temperatures. I'll note also that the most common predator of great whites are killer sharks, or orcas. Those bad boys are notorious for killing great whites, tearing the shark open, eating the liver, and leaving the rest for carrion. In addition, orcas are generally shallow water predators, only wandering down to 1000 ft depths on occasion. They don't dive to 1900 feet any more than the sharks do.

            Oh - I missed the implication that the tracker fell to the bottom of the sea. Again, the tracker has positive bouyancy, so it would come to the surface. Any bits of meat that fell away from the victim would have near neutral bouyancy. Meaning, it might fall gradually, or it might rise gradually - it wouldn't fall straight to the bottom.

            And, of course, the whole point is, great white sharks are generally averse to such deep dives.

  • (Score: 3, Funny) by redback on Friday February 02, @09:15PM

    by redback (1011) on Friday February 02, @09:15PM (#1342866)

    do do do do do do