It sounds like the premise of a monster movie: researchers capture a huge sea monster only to discover that it bears a fresh bite mark inflicted by an even bigger beast.
That's what happened when non-profit organization Ocearch recently captured a battle-scarred 1,164-pound (527.9 Kg) great white shark, only to find that it had a big bite mark on its head.
Now experts are saying the likely culprit is an enormous shark.
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Battling sea beasts
What type of sea monster would be able to wound a great white Shark?
As The Charlotte Observer reports, OCEARCH Founding Chairman Chris Fischer says the teeth marks and jaw size suggest the perpetrator was 2 or more feet longer than the shark that was discovered with the bite marks.
This was most likely another Great White, Fischer says. In fact, a great white was nearly caught by OCEARCH researchers in the same area this month, he claims. A 17-foot male great white escaped just before researchers could attach a tracker to it.
The scarred, captured shark, meanwhile, had a tracker attached to it when it was caught on 4 Oct., before being released back into the water. It was given the name Vimy.
Satellite tracking has shown that it has traveled more than 600 miles south to the coast of Maryland since its release.
The likely culprits
Fischer says there are two likely possibilities for why Vimy might have been bitten. Either Vimy was competing with other male great whites for a female and was attacked, or the shark tried mating with a large female when he was bitten.
As Fischer points out, shark mating is very violent, and it is not uncommon to see sharks sporting large shark bites. However, he does add that, sharks do “have a rapid capacity to heal.”
OCEARCH is a nonprofit that has tagged over 400 animals over the past 12 years. The data it has gathered has allowed scientists to better understand how sharks use the East Coast to travel from Nova Scotia to the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico.