Just when you think orcas couldn’t possible be any more awesome, they get even better. A study in 2019 showed these whales are really good at scaring off the most feared beast in the sea. Yep. Orcas have toppled the great white shark off their ‘apex predator’ throne.
A team of marine scientists found that great white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) will make themselves extremely scarce whenever they detect the presence of orcas (Orcinus orca).
“When confronted by orcas, white sharks will immediately vacate their preferred hunting ground and will not return for up to a year, even though the orcas are only passing through,” said marine ecologist Salvador Jorgensen of Monterey Bay Aquarium.
The team collected data from two sources: the comings and goings of 165 great white sharks GPS tagged between 2006 and 2013; and 27 years of population data of orcas, sharks and seals collected by Point Blue Conservation Science at Southeast Farallon Island off the coast of San Francisco.
The team also documented four encounters between great white sharks and orcas in the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, which they could then analyse against the other data.
The data revealed that whenever orcas showed up in the region – as in, every single time – the sharks made a swift exit, stage left, and stayed away until the next season. They would choof off within minutes, even when the orcas only hung around for less than an hour.
A new study has revealed the size of the legendary giant shark Megalodon, including fins that are as large as an adult human.
To date only the length of the legendary giant shark Megalodon had been estimated. But now, a new study led by the University of Bristol and Swansea University has revealed the size of the rest of its body, including fins that are as large as an adult human.
There is a grim fascination in determining the size of the largest sharks, but this can be difficult for fossil forms where teeth are often all that remain.
Today, the most fearsome living shark is the Great White, at over six metres (20 feet) long, which bites with a force of two tonnes.
Its fossil relative, the big tooth shark Megalodon, star of Hollywood movies, lived from 23 to around three million years ago, was over twice the length of a Great White and had a bite force of more than ten tonnes.
The fossils of the Megalodon are mostly huge triangular cutting teeth bigger than a human hand.
The study results suggest that a 16-metre-long Otodus megalodon likely had a head round 4.65 metres long, a dorsal fin approximately 1.62 metres tall and a tail around 3.85 metres high.
This means an adult human could stand on the back of this shark and would be about the same height as the dorsal fin.
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