Lifeguards cleaning a Wellfleet, Massachusetts beach on Thursday, found the massive spine for what was thought to be an equally massive great white shark.
The lifeguards that made the discovery are Ethan Craven, Lydia Bicknell, and Bri Griffin. They were cleaning up debris that came to shore after Hurricane Teddy.
“We think the animal was buried on the beach at some point and preserved; the storm uncovered this part of the skeleton,” said Suzy Blake, co-head lifeguard. “During storms like Teddy, our beaches shift quite a bit. We get many things washed ashore from the waves, but also many things uncovered by wave action and the wind.”
Greg Skomal, a senior fisheries scientist for the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, explained, “Although primarily cartilage, shark backbones have high amounts of calcium, which allows them to preserve well.”
Blake said that the spine measured five feet long with the largest vertebra being 3.5 inches in diameter.
This discovery is rare with the vertebrae still intact, and people on Facebook agree. Many commented below the Wellfleet Lifeguards Facebook post featuring the spine.
Photo of Huge Shark Spine
The Facebook post has since gone viral with over one thousand shares, 270 comments, and 1,600 likes.
“Yesterday, our guards made an amazing find during their morning beach sweep: a full spine of a marine animal,” read the post’s caption. “Upon further investigation (aka googling) and consultation with a few friends of ours (aka marine scientists) who know a thing or two about sharks, it’s likely this is the spinal column of a White Shark, and a pretty large one at that.”
The post continues as it pays tribute to the unfortunate shark.
“We’re sorry this guy had to perish, but happy that he (or she) left a little something behind as a message from the past about his (or her) visit to the #wellfleetbeaches.”
[H/T For The Win]