Tagging ocean animals and tracking their movements can teach us a lot about the great unknown right here on our very own planet. It can also help us understand marine animal populations, their migration habits, and when they’re being attacked by giant, untold horrors from the murky depths. This falls under that last category.
A 3-meter-long great white shark was tagged off the coast of Australia with a sensor to return data about the shark’s movement, depth, and temperature. Then, things got a little weird. The tag was found washed up on the beach, but an examination of the data showed that it definitely didn’t just fall off.
In what were likely the shark’s final moments of swimming and chomping (you know, shark things), the tag abruptly rocketed down the continental shelf to a depth of 580 meters. Then, its temperature rose from 46 to 78 degrees fahrenheit in a matter of seconds. The ocean isn’t exactly known for being warm and cuddly at those depths, so the best guess is that the tag was in something’s stomach.
Then, the tag climbed back up and hung within about 300 feet of the surface for a few days at the same temperature, before it was… expelled and made its way to shore. So, what’s the explanation? Giant squid? Underwater Sharknado? Godzilla? Megalodon? (Megalodon and Godzilla are probably equally likely. Sorry.)
Well, the Internet put its hive-mind together and gave it a good hard think, and they came up with some alternatives to a predator that’s capable of just full-on swallowing a nine-foot great white, because that’s horrifying (and awesome). It’s possible that a larger great white or an orca killed the shark and bit off the part with the tag, but the data makes it seem like no swallowing happened until the shark was already dragged way down in the depths.
Still, the more mundane explanations are the most likely. Maybe a greedy sea creature thought the tag looked like fun and stole it, brought it a safe distance away from its owner, and then decided to see if it made a good snack? We may never know, but then again, if it’s some kind of giant, ocean-dwelling monster, we might never want to.
But I hope it’s Godzilla.
- Your speedo is slowing you down, so wear 3D printed shark skin instead
- Jaws works really well with audio from the new Godzilla
- I hope the secret predator isn’t a megalodon, because scientists say we’d kill it for soup