Who the heck knows what lurks that deep in the ocean?
March 30, 2015 2:44 PM   Subscribe

Great White Shark Disappears, Hunt for Super Predator Begins Data from a Great White tag plus signs of bleaching (presumably from stomach acid) suggest that the nine foot long Great White to which the tag was attached may have been eaten by a "Super Predator." An obsessive search for information followed the recovery of the tag.

Be forewarned: Some of the links have videos, some of them quite long, such as the link to the official show site from the Smithsonian Channel: Hunt for the Super Predator

Something in the ocean is eating great white sharks This is one of the more fun pieces which asks if the shark was eaten by:
A giant squid? Godzilla? A Megalodon?
There’s Something In The Ocean Eating Great White Sharks Lightweight piece, but snarky and funnier than the others.

Mystery solved: This is the monster that ate that great white shark
But some people think the jury is still out:
Massive Shark-Eating Creature is Still at Large
posted by Michele in California (59 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
 
We're gonna need a bigger shark.
posted by ocschwar at 2:45 PM on March 30, 2015 [69 favorites]


It's an odd sort of gap in our heuristics that we seem to have a hard time believing a great white was eaten by a larger great white. Is it that cannibalism is such a hard thing for us to accept in ourselves that we've transferred that disgust to other species that don't have the same taboos?
posted by mollweide at 3:01 PM on March 30, 2015 [3 favorites]


Great white sharks have greater sharks,
Upon their back to bite 'em.
Those great sharks have greater sharks,
And so on, ad infinitum.
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:02 PM on March 30, 2015 [90 favorites]


Couldn't it have been a super-scavenger?
posted by grobstein at 3:04 PM on March 30, 2015 [5 favorites]


Sharks are gonna shark.
posted by localroger at 3:04 PM on March 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


The documentary goes on to show how smaller sharks immediately vacate the waters when they sense a giant one is nearby.

You think?
posted by Dip Flash at 3:06 PM on March 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


I was swimming the ocean down under. I was feeling a bit peckish, when this 9' shark swam up next to me. so I ated him. Mm sashimi.
posted by humanfont at 3:07 PM on March 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


Aren't these tags usually attached on the back, close to the dorsal fin? I don't know why we assume the attacker had to have eaten the shark whole or anything, couldn't it just have taken a big bite out of the area where the tag was? If that's the case, it wouldn't even have had to be much bigger than the shark it attacked.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 3:08 PM on March 30, 2015 [3 favorites]


It's an odd sort of gap in our heuristics that we seem to have a hard time believing a great white was eaten by a larger great white. Is it that cannibalism is such a hard thing for us to accept in ourselves that we've transferred that disgust to other species that don't have the same taboos?

I don't know that disgust is the adjective to be applied to sharks or other big predators- something more like an understandable disinclination to attempt to eat something that might well eat you back.
posted by Celsius1414 at 3:09 PM on March 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't know that disgust is the adjective to be applied to sharks or other big predators- something more like an understandable disinclination to attempt to eat something that might well eat you back.

Or an evolutionary response to the likelihood of disease transmission from eating something susceptible to same diseases as you. Kuru etc.
posted by Existential Dread at 3:16 PM on March 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


That's a good point, Celsius1414, but cannibalism always seems to come across as so lurid and troublesome when we consider the behavior of non-human animals.
posted by mollweide at 3:18 PM on March 30, 2015


Couldn't it have been a super-scavenger?

Nope. They have data from the "black box" they had on the shark that shows a pattern of sudden and violent temperature and depth changes that make it very clear the shark was killed suddenly, via attack.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 3:22 PM on March 30, 2015 [4 favorites]


if anyone asks, I was on land eating a crab, so...

*continues whistling innocently*
posted by Earthtopus at 3:25 PM on March 30, 2015 [26 favorites]


Maybe that tracker was on a Great White Left Shark?
posted by eriko at 3:37 PM on March 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


The only theory so far is that a "colossal cannibal great white shark" was responsible, according to the New York Post.

An 8-foot long shark could kill a 9-foot long great white shark. It's not like they swallow their prey whole.
posted by Flashman at 3:39 PM on March 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


Looks like someone's up and about.
posted by StephenF at 3:40 PM on March 30, 2015 [3 favorites]


Inside every shark, a free shark!
posted by spitbull at 3:41 PM on March 30, 2015 [12 favorites]


And hey, humans eat turducken. And gingerbread men.
posted by spitbull at 3:43 PM on March 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


There's always a bigger fish.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:49 PM on March 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


Cthulhu fhtagn!
posted by yeolcoatl at 4:05 PM on March 30, 2015 [5 favorites]


Giant Squid!
posted by edgeways at 4:09 PM on March 30, 2015


This is just to say...

I have eaten
the shark
that was in
the ocean

and which
you were probably
tagging
for research

Forgive me
it was necessary
Cthulhu fhtagn!
ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn!
posted by nubs at 4:11 PM on March 30, 2015 [115 favorites]


Dammit yeocoatl
posted by nubs at 4:12 PM on March 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


Whales eat sharks. Orcas (technically a dolphin) eat sharks. A sperm whale could easily grab a shark and dive deep to kill it/eat it.
posted by jimmythefish at 4:16 PM on March 30, 2015 [4 favorites]


National Geographic: "The only theory so far is that a "colossal cannibal great white shark" was responsible, according to the New York Post."

Should have added above (along with quotation marks, oops) is that it's a pretty dark day when National Geographic is deferring to the New York Post on matters of science.
posted by Flashman at 4:27 PM on March 30, 2015 [6 favorites]


A sperm whale hunting for the (great) white shark that took its fluke? Its Moby Dick's Moby Dick.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 4:29 PM on March 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


Whales do it
Sharks do it
Even super predators do it
Let's do it..

LET'S EAT A SHARK!
posted by eriko at 4:31 PM on March 30, 2015 [8 favorites]


Yo dawg, I heard you like sharks...

(sorry)
posted by Edgewise at 4:34 PM on March 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


Whales eat sharks.

The data from the shark's tag read 78 °F, not warm enough to be inside the belly of a mammal.
posted by peeedro at 4:41 PM on March 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


Baby shark do do, do do do do
Baby shark do do, do do do do
Baby shark do do, do do do do
Baby shark

.....

Super Predator do do, do do do do
Super Predator do do, do do do do
Super Predator do do, do do do do
Super Predator!
posted by bottlebrushtree at 4:46 PM on March 30, 2015 [4 favorites]


Turns out it's man.
posted by sleeping bear at 4:49 PM on March 30, 2015 [6 favorites]


The main link is a second-hand summary of an article on the Daily Mail website that presumably didn't even make it into the print edition. That's not a great thing to be.

Yes, there are predators larger than great white sharks. They are called whales. Squids, even.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:50 PM on March 30, 2015


I'm pretty sure The Fonz did it, as soon as the cameras were off.
posted by argonauta at 5:02 PM on March 30, 2015 [4 favorites]


But the most fearsome shark of all is intolerance, lurking in the briney depths of our hearts.
posted by dephlogisticated at 5:03 PM on March 30, 2015 [13 favorites]


according to the New York Post:

"Headless body found in top size shark"
posted by ambrosen at 5:04 PM on March 30, 2015 [4 favorites]


Aren't these tags usually attached on the back, close to the dorsal fin?

Suppose a pair of them carried a coconut to a temperate zone?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 5:13 PM on March 30, 2015 [14 favorites]


I read somewhere sharks break into a feeding frenzy if blood or bloody chum is in the water. Maybe the electronics in the tag incite other sharks to attack?
posted by Oyéah at 5:19 PM on March 30, 2015


All these stories posit that the shark was eaten, because it "disappeared." What does that mean, other than they lost contact with it? They obviously didn't have the shark under visual surveillance, or they'd know what happened. If Joakim Zeigler's theory that something bit the tag off the shark is true, the shark may still be swimming around. It's reasonable to conclude that the tag was eaten. It's less reasonable to say the shark was.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:20 PM on March 30, 2015 [3 favorites]


So how did the tag exit the second shark's body? Was that shark eaten too? Do sharks vomit?
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:53 PM on March 30, 2015


Having just read this book about the New Jersey shark attacks of 1916 (the inspiration for the movie Jaws), I'm going to vote that any speculation from the NY Post and Daily Mail should be viewed with skepticism. There's too much about sharks that we just don't know.
posted by immlass at 6:00 PM on March 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


It was mermaids.
posted by FunkyHelix at 6:01 PM on March 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


The data from the shark's tag read 78 °F, not warm enough to be inside the belly of a mammal.

THE CALLS ARE COMING FROM INSIDE THE SHARK!
posted by Celsius1414 at 6:05 PM on March 30, 2015 [20 favorites]


Man, the NY Post just can't let go of the super predator thing.
posted by Ham Snadwich at 8:03 PM on March 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


There's always a bigger fish.


My favorite Yoda quote.
posted by rankfreudlite at 8:09 PM on March 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


Whales eat sharks. Orcas (technically a dolphin) eat sharks.

. . . and little lambs eat ivy.
posted by rankfreudlite at 8:13 PM on March 30, 2015 [12 favorites]


So how did the tag exit the second shark's body? Was that shark eaten too?

It's sharks, all the way up.
posted by rankfreudlite at 8:16 PM on March 30, 2015 [6 favorites]


A long documented phenomenon.

(Incidentally, in tracking this image down I encountered a meta fish-eating-fish problem, since many online images that purport to be this are in fact not Bruegel's sketch but Heyden's identical etching, often misattributed as Bruegel's, made more confusing because Heyden claims his copy is after Bosch (who did in fact inspire Bruegel's original) because Bosch was more famous at the time. It's all fishes eating fishes...)
posted by chortly at 9:04 PM on March 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


It could have gripped it by the husk.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 9:16 PM on March 30, 2015 [5 favorites]


Do sharks vomit?

Yarp. At least some can actually hork a big chunk of their digestive tract out their mouths if they're feeling a bit urpy.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:37 PM on March 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


Sharks are gonna shark
shark shark shark shark shark...
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 10:53 PM on March 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


My favorite Yoda quote.

Actually Liam Neeson.
posted by Abon Sapi at 4:20 AM on March 31, 2015


JAWSOME!
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 5:10 AM on March 31, 2015 [4 favorites]


Actually, Liam Neeson.

TAKEN 4: When a Super Predator Shark Takes Your Daughter ... Who do you call?
posted by despues at 6:55 AM on March 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


The data from the shark's tag read 78 °F, not warm enough to be inside the belly of a mammal.

Maybe it washed the shark down with a Slurpee?
posted by yoink at 10:17 AM on March 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


"colossal cannibal great white shark"

no thank you
posted by poffin boffin at 11:32 AM on March 31, 2015


Also, because Great White sharks are sexually dimorphic in size, this one -- if it is indeed another shark, and not a giant squid -- is likely female.

you do you, girl
posted by nicodine at 12:11 PM on March 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


Have they ruled out an ouroboros situation?
posted by mccarty.tim at 1:39 PM on March 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


As best I can determine, no, they have not ruled out an ouroboros situation. We should form a committee and try to contact the scientists in charge and have them add that to the current list of suspects, which includes a giant squid, Godzilla and Megalodon.




{/}
posted by Michele in California at 1:56 PM on March 31, 2015


Great white sharks have greater sharks,
Upon their back to bite 'em.
Those great sharks have greater sharks,
And so on, ad infinitum.


That place where the sidewalk ends, on the other end of town (next to a munificent apple tree), there was a light on in an attic of a house. There sat a kind, bearded man with a bald head who was rocking there, reciting a poem with quiet respect, which he attributed to Greg_Ace from MetaFilter.
posted by SpacemanStix at 3:03 PM on April 1, 2015


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