Locate the song “Baby Shark”.
Researchers have captured what they believe to be the first-ever image of a newborn great white shark living off the coast of California.
Wildlife filmmaker Carlos Gauna and Phillip Sternes, a doctoral student in biology at UC Riverside, were scanning the waters near Santa Barbara on July 9, 2023, when they spotted a baby shark in their drone’s viewfinder.
The puppy, however, didn’t look like the one they had seen before. The shark was small and had a pale film covering its body.
“We enlarged the footage, put it in slow motion and realized that the white layer was being removed from the body as it swam,” Sternes said. “I believe it was a newborn white shark shedding its embryonic layer.”
The images could help researchers solve the long-standing mystery of big white childbirth habits.
“Where white sharks give birth is one of the holy grails of shark science. No one has ever been able to determine where they were born, and no one has ever seen a live newborn baby shark,” Gauna said.
Researchers believe great whites are born farther out to sea, but this pup was filmed about 1,000 feet from the beach, meaning it was likely born in shallow water.
Great whites are listed as an internationally endangered species.
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