Great whites, the largest predatory sharks in the world with the most fatal attacks on humans, are tough to imagine as newborn babies. That is partially because no one has seen one in the wild, it seems, until now.

Wildlife filmmaker Carlos Gauna and UC Riverside biology doctoral student Phillip Sternes were scanning the waters for sharks on July 9, 2023, near Santa Barbara on California’s central coast. That day, something exciting appeared on the viewfinder of Gauna’s drone camera. It was a shark pup unlike any they’d ever seen.

Great whites, referred to only as white sharks by scientists, are gray on top and white on the bottom. But this roughly 5-foot-long shark was pure white.

“We enlarged the images, put them in slow motion, and realized the white layer was being shed from the body as it was swimming,” Sternes said. “I believe it was a newborn white shark shedding its embryonic layer.”

These observations are documented in a new paper in the Environmental Biology of Fishes journal. The paper also details the significance of having seen a live newborn white shark.

  • @taanegl
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    404 months ago

    There’s a shark science field and it’s about now I realise I’ve wasted my life.

  • @jordanlund
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    214 months ago

    You know, on reddit I’d get banned for replying with:

    🎵🎶Doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo🎵🎶

    Not sure how lemmy feels about that.

  • @[email protected]
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    214 months ago

    Given how people gush over baby animals, this is just the marketing campaign shark preservation needs.

  • @dlpkl
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    114 months ago

    Is this the same guy who owns the MalibuArtist channel on YouTube? Love his videos, but for fuck’s sake dude, tell the swimmers when there’s a great white right underneath them.

    • SpudNoodle
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      64 months ago

      From the article:

      Gauna is known online as The Malibu Artist.

    • @Wrench
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      254 months ago

      You seem to overestimate our knowledge of the sea. There’s a great deal we have never witnessed, but have educated guesses on how it works. Things like where / how many sharks birth. For example, we know big preggered whale sharks have been seen migrating to to the same area year after year, but we have never witnessed the actual birth or baby whale sharks afaik.

      Hell, I don’t think we’ve even witnessed how penguins at sea sleep. It’s assumed that they rest by turning off parts of their brains in cycles like many other water life, but these are educated guesses.

      • IANA marine biologist
      • icedterminal
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        94 months ago

        James Cameron’s expedition to the bottom of the ocean led to the discovery of dozens of new species, in a place humans historically thought couldn’t support life.

  • @ieightpi
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    34 months ago

    It’s hard to believe a great white shark can be so cute. The power baby cuteness