Closer examination of the shark's caudal fin reveals that several different animals were shown in the footage.

Is ‘Shark Week’ Lying Again? It’s All In The Fins

The 2015 edition of Discovery’s Shark Week has officially kicked off, and it already appears that some of the controversy that has dogged the event over past few years is sure to remain, as at least one program has seemingly conflated images of several sharks to portray a single, “monstrous” great white.

The show in question is called Island of the Mega Shark, and it featured a group of “shark experts” as they attempted to film a great white of exceptional size in the waters off Guadalupe Island, as Yahoo News reports. Though there are certainly large sharks that call this island region home, it appears that the unusually massive white shark which featured at the climax of the show was portrayed using footage of several different great whites.

The telltale sign comes from the shark’s caudal fin. At the finale of the show, as the “mega shark” is finally captured on film next to a shark-shaped measuring tool, some of the expedition members describe the animal, a pregnant female, as over 20-feet-long, and likely weighing in excess of 5,000 pounds. While this commentary is offered, several different shots of the “mega shark” are shown.

Careful inspection of the shark’s tail fin reveals that at least two different white sharks are used in this moment to portray a “mega shark.” One, the large female, exhibits a straight, healthy tail fin. The second white shark possesses a distinctively collapsed, damaged fin. This particular shark was previously revealed in a special that featured during last year’s Shark Week, which also took place at Guadalupe Island.

That same special, Jaws Strikes Back, revealed the existence of another massive white shark, Deep Blue. As the Inquisitr previously reported, that unusually large shark became an internet sensation earlier this year when previously unreleased footage of the animal made its way online.

Shark Week has been marred by controversy in recent years. Over its past two iterations, the yearly event has stoked the ire of the scientific community by featuring a series of mockumentaries which probed whether the megalodon, a 60-foot-long ancient shark, might still exist in the depths of the ocean. A widely decried special that aired in 2013 was followed up with a sequel last year, as Boston.com notes, along with another program that debated the existence of the Submarine, an exceptionally large and mythical South African shark.

Though Discovery had asserted that this year’s Shark Week would be more scientifically responsible, the climax of Island of the Mega Shark suggests that the portrayal of monstrous, massive sharks is still the network’s stock-in-trade.

[Photo by Dan Kitwood / Getty Images]

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