Thresher Shark Washed Ashore in Washington Leads To Learning Opportunity for Community

by Lauren Boisvert
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A large thresher shark washed up on the shore of Long Beach Peninsula in Pacific County in Washington State, and the Seaside Aquarium took it as an opportunity to educate the community. Aquarium personnel initially responded to calls about the stranded thresher in order to potentially save it, but the shark died shortly after they arrived. It weighed between 300 and 365 pounds and was somewhere in the ballpark of 12 feet long.

In a Facebook post, the Seaside Aquarium shared information about the necropsy done on the shark. They took the opportunity to educate the community on thresher sharks by making the necropsy a public event. The shark was available for public viewing for those interested as well, before the necropsy. The aquarium posted that they had about 50 to 75 people in attendance.

This thresher was similar to another one that washed ashore on August 18. Residents were fascinated by the long tail, which the shark uses to disturb and stun schools of fish. It then swims back through the stunned school and gobbles them up. A thresher’s tail can get almost 10 feet long, and it’s an amazing sight to see.

“It is not very often that we get to see these large sharks and anything we can learn or educate the public on is a great opportunity,” Seaside Aquarium wrote in their post. As for why thresher sharks are washing up in the area, there’s currently no explanation. But, the aquarium said, “that is why it is important to be able to collect data and various tissue and organ samples.”

8-Year-Old Finds Enormous Fossilized Shark Tooth In South Carolina

In other fascinating news, a boy made an amazing find this past August. Riley Gracely, his parents, and his brother were traveling to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina when they made a pit stop at a local fossil-hunting expedition, called Palmetto Fossil Excursions in Summerville, SC.

Riley’s father, Justin Gracely, recalled the story. He remembered Riley “was walking around the bases of these piles of gravel and dirt and noticed what he thought was the edge of a tooth. When he pulled it out, he was so excited.”

Riley had found a 4.75-inch angustidens tooth in one of the facility’s gravel mounds. Otodus angustidens are a species of prehistoric sharks that lived about 33 million to 22 million years ago. They are known for their “megateeth,” and are related to the megalodon. While the megalodon could reach up to 70 feet long, angustidens are estimated to have reached about 30 feet.

Riley’s parents expressed their immense pride at his find, and Palmetto Fossil Excursions also posted about it on their Facebook. “CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!” they wrote, enthusiastically. “This young man just scored a 4.75 [inch] Angustiden tooth in our Premium Gravel Layer piles on a dry dig!!!” 

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