It was Thomas Hobbes who said that life in the state of nature is ‘solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.’ The same applies to sharks. The misfortune of one humpback whale can be rather rewarding for a group of great white sharks.
While a group of whale watchers in Cape Cod, Massachusetts were hoping to see some live action they got something else. A dead humpback whale floated nearby. However, that wasn’t all. The watchers were able to catch two great white sharks feasting on the deceased whale.
All things considered, the encounter is rare and well worth seeing even if a bit morbid.
Not only was this event a great site for the humpback whale watchers, but it also helped researchers as well. The one-year-old calf has been a source of food for a number of local great whites. Over the days, researchers have been able to tag a few of the sharks and it should help with understanding many things about both species.
A member of the New England Aquarium whale research team, Peter Corkeron, said, “A dead whale is a lot of really easy food for great white sharks.” That makes plenty of sense. “A dead whale is like the biggest smorgasbord a shark could ever dream of.”
Miracle Shark Born in Italy
While it wasn’t a great white shark, recently in Sardina, Italy a smooth-hound shark was born in a tank of females. While there have only been two female sharks in the tank for the last ten years, a new baby was born. However, it isn’t as abnormal as it sounds.
The explanation was given by The New York Post. Through a process of parthenogenesis, an embryo was fertilized by a polar cell. That means that during meiosis, the polar cell is made as a byproduct. That cell is used as auxiliary DNA. While this isn’t a process that all species can go through, they aren’t the only ones capable. However, it does make them unique. This could be the first known smooth-hound to asexually reproduce.
Smooth-hounds live near the United Kingdom in the east Atlantic. Residing on upper slopes and shelves, they are rather common. The virgin birth in Sardinia is a great reminder of the vastness of nature. Altogether there are more than a few species of sharks and rays that are capable of asexual reproduction in this manner.
There are many invertebrates that reproduced in this manner, worms and insects as well as crustaceans and more. However, vertebrates that produce this way are not so common. Typically these animals are reptiles, fish, and amphibians. How cool is nature?