Something in the ocean is eating great white sharks

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Something In The Ocean Is Eating Great White Sharks

Ever since the movie "Jaws" popularized great white sharks as predatory man-killers, people have had misconceptions about these animals. That is why researchers have been doing everything they can to learn as much about them before they are hunted to extinction.

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Something in the ocean is eating great white sharks
Enya Kim from the Natural History department at auctioneers Bonhams & Butterfields stands inside one of the world's largest set of shark jaws comprised of about 180 fossil teeth from the prehistoric species, Carcharocles megalodon, which grew to the size of a school bus. 
SLUG: WK-OCEAN HALL DATE: 9/18/08 CREDIT: BILL O'LEARY / TWP WASHINGTON, DC. Pictured, the fossilized jaw of a giant, prehistoric Megalodon shark. 
UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 2003: Reconstruction of Megalodon, (Carcharodon megalodon) extinct species of shark which lived between the Eocene and the Pliocene Period. Drawing. 
A schoolgirl reads a panel with information about an ancient whale fossil exibited at the National History Museum in Lima on July 01, 2010. The giant whale named Leviathan melvillei in honour of Herman Melville and his novel 'Moby Dick', live about 12 million years ago in the Miocene period of Peru. The prehistoric sperm whale gripped large prey with its interlocking teeth, inflicting deep wounds and tearing large pieces from the body of its victims, the researchers said.
Rodolfo Salas, one of the scientists that have discovered an ancient whale fossil, speaks next to the jaw of the fossil at the National History Museum in Lima on July 01, 2010. The giant whale named Leviathan melvillei in honour of Herman Melville and his novel 'Moby Dick', live about 12 million years ago in the Miocene period of Peru. The prehistoric sperm whale gripped large prey with its interlocking teeth, inflicting deep wounds and tearing large pieces from the body of its victims, the researchers said.
A great white shark surfaces and snaps at a seal-shaped decoy. These decoys, coupled with chumming, decrease unintended feeding of sharks by attracting them to dive boats by scent, and limit the amount of bait needed. 
GANSBAAI, SOUTH AFRICA - JULY 08: A Great White Shark swims in Shark Alley near Dyer Island on July 8, 2010 in Gansbaai, South Africa. 
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Whether you're frightened of them or not, it's still unfortunate to learn that one less great white exists now.

Researchers were tagging great whites to study their movements. In the process, they tagged a nine-foot female, who left the area safely. Four months later, her tag was found on a beach near where she was first caught -- and the data tells a very interesting story.

"It showed this profile going down the shelf to 580 meters, then a huge temperature change ... another living animal," said a Smithsonian researcher.

Yes, it appears that the nine-foot great white was eaten. The big question? What ate her? Whatever it was, it had to be big enough to swallow almost 10 feet of apex predator, and quick enough to drag it almost 2,000 feet in a few seconds.

So, what is it? A giant squid? Godzilla? A Megalodon? Well, actually, that last one is not too far off from the real theory.

The Megalodon was a prehistoric shark, much like a great white ... but 60-feet long. Researchers don't actually believe it was a Megalodon, but they do think it was a giant shark: a great white about 16-feet long and weighing over 4,000 lbs. This deduction came from studying the migratory patterns of other great whites that happened to be in the same area as the missing shark with matching body temperatures.

Still, that is just a hypothesis for now. They still don't know for sure what ate this great white.

Interested in this wild story? You can watch the full documentary, called the "Hunt for the Super Predator," on the Smithsonian Channel on June 25th.
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