The discovery came from Australia’s first ever large-scale tagging and tracking program for great white sharks. Lead by filmmaker Dave Riggs and a film crew, the team successfully tagged a 9-foot bluechip specimen and named her “Shark Alpha”.
Four months later the tag was mysteriously found washed up on the beach. When the data was collected from the tracker, Riggs was stunned. According to Yahoo.com,
“Alpha had plunged straight down the side of the continental shelf, more than 1,500 feet deep. While the temperature of ocean water drops considerably in deep water, the tag itself actually heated up, from 46 degrees Fahrenheit to 78 degrees. That means the tag had to have been inside the belly of another animal. Alpha had been attacked, and bested, but by what?”
The story is chronicled in the upcoming Smithsonian documentary, “Hunt for the Super Predator.” which can be viewed below.
Of course after the story surfaced on the internet, theorists from all over gave their best guesses as to what could’ve happened- some based in fact (like an Orca or giant squid), others in fantasy (like the Kraken).
So what did eat this 9-foot great white? Well, the most likely answer is that Alpha was eaten by another member of her own species, or as the scientists called it, a “colossal cannibal great white shark”.
This wouldn’t be too surprising: the average adult great white is between 13-16 feet in length, with some monsters growing up to 20+ feet. Great whites are also known to be aggressively territorial, and a bleeding, injured shark, even a great white, wouldn’t last long in waters full of other sharks
No matter what actually happened to this 9-foot great white, I don’t think that I’ll be swimming in Australia anytime soon…