Documentary Tries to Solve Mystery of What Devoured Great Whites Shark

Scientists studying the Great White Sharks had recently tagged a shar2.7 meter (~9 foot) shark as part of an ongoing effort to track the species’ swimming patterns along the Australian coast. However, four months later they found the tag washed ashore. After retrieving the tag, they pulled data off it only to discover that something strange happened to it while swimming at a depth of 579 meters (1,900 feet). The temperature had spiked from a cold 7C (~45F) to a toasty 25C (~77F) in seconds. The only plausible explanation for such a substantial increase in temperature is that something capable of swallowing a great white fish whole had done precisely that. The incident took place 11 years ago.

Now, director David Rigg has created a documentary called “The Hunt for the Super Predator” to try and locate the monster fish capable of eating a great white shark in seconds. The file is set to air on the Smithsonian Channel. During the film, Riggs explores possible causes from the mythological creature Kaiju (Godzilla) to a possibly overgrown great white that cannibalized a fellow shark. However, the temperature recorded from what is believed to be the belly of the unknown beast would suggest that whatever it was would not include mammals. This is because mammals are much warmer internally.

A description of the documentary from the Smithsonian reads:

There’s a mysterious predator lurking in the depths of Australia’s wild Southern Ocean, a beast that savagely devoured a great white shark in front of cinematographer David Riggs 11 years ago. Riggs’s obsession to find the killer leads him to an aquatic battle zone that’s remained hidden until now. Here, killer whales, colossal squid and great white sharks face off in an underwater coliseum where only the fiercest creatures of the marine world survive.

A three-metre great white shark was tagged off the WA coast

A three-metre great white shark was tagged off the WA coast

The question gets all the more interesting because the 25C temperature would suggest a fish of some extraordinary size. Fish are generally much colder that 25C internally, but the larger they are the higher an internal temperature they can maintain.

“When I was first told about the data that came back from the tag that was on the shark, I was absolutely blown away,” filmmaker Dave Riggs says in the documentary.

“The question that not only came to my mind but everyone’s mind who was involved was, ‘What did that?’ It was obviously eaten. What’s going to eat a shark that big? What could kill a 3-meter (9-foot) great white?”

“Looking at the profile of the animal that ate it, 26 degrees, that’s pretty high but not enough to be a mammal but it’s something seriously huge to sustain that temperature – the larger the animal, the more capable it is of an elevated temperature.”

The three-metre great white shark being tagged before it disappeared off the Western Australia coast in 2004

The three-metre great white shark being tagged before it disappeared off the Western Australia coast in 2004

“The notion of gigantism is well documented in species, to me that plausible.”

As for Rigg, the concept of a species of super-fish or an overgrown version of know species of large fish seems the most likely cause. It would still need to be a predator and one capable of hunting down a powerful great white shark.

What do you think devoured the great white?


Great White Shark Devoured by Mystery Monster off Australia Coast

What devoured this great white shark?

Great White Devoured by ‘Mystery Sea Monster’? Scientists Searching for Beast That Killed 9-Foot Shark (VIDEO)