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Friday, 6 June 2014

A new super predator?

We now have a new mystery, and one that’s quite exciting because it may lead to the discovery of a new super predator in the oceans around Australia.

In order to better understand the movements of great white sharks along Australia’s coast line, cinematographer Dave Riggs was tasked with tagging a number of them. These tags hold information about movement patterns, depth, and temperature. So even if they become dislodged from a shark, they still hold valuable information.

The video below details an incident where a tag from a 3-meter-long (9 feet) great white shark washed up on a beach. The data it held about the shark’s last known movements are quite unbelievable, and suggest some kind of super predator we have yet to discover is feeding in the ocean near Australia.

There’s not much in the ocean that will mess with a great white, especially one that’s 3 meters long. So a sudden large depth change and huge temperature increase both suggest an attack. The temperature change happening because the tag has been ingested by something else.

The collective scientific minds  have been weighing up the evidence. An even larger great white shark or an orca whale have been put forward as possible attackers, but the depth and temperatures don’t tie up well enough. Another suggestion has been that it’s a giant squid.

For now the mystery still remains, do we have a new super predator in the oceans waiting to be discovered?