Stunning video possibly shows the first-ever images of a newborn great white shark

The birthing spots of white sharks are one of the biggest mysteries of the ocean but researchers believe they might have discovered something new.

White sharks are one of the most fascinating and mysterious creatures to exist on the planet. It has fascinated both laypeople and researchers alike for ages. Even after several years of research, several aspects of a white shark are one of the biggest mysteries of the deep sea, including where the shark mates and gives birth. But this rare sighting is expected to give scientists a better insight into this intriguing species. Researchers have reported a sighting of a white baby shark, something that isn’t commonly seen. This is bound to answer several questions about the shark. The images of the newborn shark were captured and published in the journal “Environmental Biology of Fishes.” A video of the baby was also captured, which Philips Sterenes, the co-author of the study and organismal biologist at the University of California, Riverdale, says isn’t like something they’ve seen before, as per the Smithsonian magazine.

The shark was observed with a drone camera off the coast of Carpinteria, California, near Santa Barbara. The researchers believe that the shark was newborn because of its five-foot-long size and the intrauterine covering surrounding the shark as per the outlet. “Where white sharks actually give birth to their pups remains one of the ocean’s great mysteries,” Tobey Curtis, a shark ecologist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told the Washington Post through an email. The observations of such sharks are very rare and any images or videos are extremely valuable for knowing more about their world. As per the source, white sharks are found in every ocean in the world. In the US, they are found from Maine to the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean in the Atlantic, and from Alaska to Hawaii in the Pacific. 

Like many species, these sharks have declined in numbers due to activities like overfishing, illegal poaching and so on. They are considered a vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and steps are being taken to protect them all over the world. As the scientists don’t know where the sharks are born, barely three or four white sharks under a year old have been observed, Charles Underwood, who studies shark paleontology and evolution at Birbeck University, London, told New Scientist. It is usually “nearly impossible to be in the exact right place at the exact right time to observe and document the moment of birth.” But on July 9, 2023, Sternes and Carlos Guana, a filmmaker and co-author of the study, captured the first-of-its-kind footage of the newborn white shark. Although white sharks are white on the top and grey on the bottom, this shark was completely white due to the substance surrounding it.

Other things that point towards the shark being a newborn are its rounded fins, seen in young white sharks and shark embryos. The location where the shark was spotted had been previously predicted to be the place where the specific shark gives birth. A few adult white sharks were spotted a few days before at the same location as well. Although there are several facts supporting the idea that the shark could be a newborn, there are also chances that it could be older than a newborn shark with skin disorders. Scientists will conduct further research based on both theories to confirm which one holds good and as per the results, make efforts to preserve the area for white shark conservation.

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