A nine-foot-long great white shark was tagged by Australian scientists as part of a massive tagging initiative aimed at tracking the large predators movements throughout the waters. However, scientists were shocked when the giant shark was eaten by an obviously bigger predator in Australia’s Southern Ocean.
IFL Science reports that the tag was placed on the great white shark prematurely named “shark alpha” during the tagging initiative in Australia. Filmmaker Dave Riggs placed the tag and planned to follow the huge beast’s journey through the oceans. However, Riggs was surprised when shark alpha was killed and eaten by a mysterious super predator in the Australian Southern Ocean. After the incident, Riggs became obsessed with finding out what super predator was able to take down the fierce creature with such ease.
Riggs took to the area of the shark’s demise to document what he found and to solve the mystery of what super predator may have consumed shark alpha in the embattled seas. The Smithsonian Channel supported Riggs on his journey and a documentary called Hunt for the Super Predator was uploaded to the website. The film documents Riggs attempt at identifying the fiercest of predators in Australia’s seas.
First, how did Riggs find out that his shark alpha was eaten? About four months after shark alpha was tagged, her device washed up about 2.5 miles from where it was originally attached. The scientists looked at the data to see what may have happened to shark alpha and were incredibly surprised. The device indicated that shark alpha experienced a rapid plunge in depth before her demise and that the temperature rose from 46 degrees to 78 degrees rapidly. The device remained at 78 degrees for eight days before going back to sea temperature.
Scientists agreed that the data indicated that something had eaten shark alpha as 78 degrees is suggestive that the device was in a digestive system for eight days.
“When I was first told about the data that came back from the tag that was on the shark, I was absolutely blown away. The question that not only came to my mind but everyone’s mind who was involved was, ‘what did that?’ It was obviously eaten. What’s gonna eat a shark that big? What could kill a 3 meter great white?”
During the journey to discover the super predator, Riggs identified three possible super predators capable of devouring the huge great white shark. The possible predators included killer whales, giant squids, or an even bigger cannibal great what shark.
Take a look at the documentary and let us know which super predator you think was responsible for shark alpha’s death.
[ Image Credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images]