Alt title: What On Earth Could Have Decapitated This Mako Shark in Australia?
Did you know — less than 5 percent of Earth’s oceans have been explored. That means there is a lot we don’t know about the planet, and the creatures who inhabit it. Lately, many people have been pondering what kind of creatures live in the deep, dark blue, following the discovery of a decapitated mako shark.
Trapman Bermagui, aka Jason, is a commercial angler fisherman based on the south coast of New South Wales. Recently, he pulled the severed head of a mako shark from the deep blue. After overcoming his initial shock, he posted a photograph to Facebook with the caption:
“Unfortunately we didn’t see what ate it but must [have] been impressive. Hoping to catch smaller sharks but just hooked big sharks that got eaten by bigger sharks again. When I thought I’d seen it all, we cut about 35 kilograms [77 pounds] of meat off the mako head and discovered it had a marlin bill embedded in its head.”
Another pic of the tiger that got taxed. Weather is turning bad out here with strong north winds. Weekend isn't looking…
It wasn’t long before “armchair marine biologists” shared their theories about what could have decapitated the shark. For a while, the leading theory was a prehistoric megalodon. But, that has since been ruled out. Experts believe the mako shark was probably not decapitated, but instead died and had its body slowly eaten by other sharks. In other words, it wasn’t a swift decapitation. What was left was eventually caught by the angler line.
“Even a huge great white shark wouldn’t cut a large mako in two pieces in one bite,” Johann Mourier, shark scientist and behavioral ecologist at UMR MARBEC in France, told IFLScience.“In the picture, we can see that there were multiple bites, although it seems that the bites are still big… [It] seems to be a big shark with multiple bites [from] multiple sharks.”
Mako sharks are not a small species of sharks. The beasts can grow up to 3.2 meters (~10 feet) long, from tail to tip. However, the photograph above does cause the head to look extra large, due to Jason’s position behind the catch.
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“The guy is standing in the background with the remaining head of the mako in the front, which gives the impression that the mako is really huge,” Mourier added. “It still seems to be a large shark though.”
Mako sharks are known as the “cheetahs of the ocean.” They are also the world’s fastest-swimming sharks. In fact, a mako shark can Wim up to 68 kilometers (42 miles) per hour. In addition to being agile, the creatures are known for performing acrobatic flips and leaping out of the water. As IFLScience reports, their agility is a result of their aerodynamic skin which is covered in thousands of tiny microstructures.
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