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Did a supernatural or mythical creature eat a great white shark that has disappeared? Over the last few days, scientific websites and trending news websites all over the internet have been buzzing over a video wherein a journey to find a mysterious super predator lurking beneath the waves of the Pacific Ocean is documented.
The video was created when a tagged great white shark fell off the map unexpectedly and its GPS washed ashore two weeks later. The scientists behind it reveal the journey it went through including its rapid descent to the floor of the ocean and the theory behind a drastic temperature increase detected by the tag.
All kinds of theories about how this happened are offered on the internet, from long-extinct ocean predators resurfacing, to orcas, giant squid and, when humor strikes, Cthulhu and other mythical creatures are targeted as responsible for the death of this ocean predator.
Even though many are asking the question: did a mythical creature eat a great white shark? Part of what should prove to a be a thrilling “documentary” will come as a disappointment to some viewers. Throughout the documentary, produced originally by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and later to be featured on the Smithsonian Channel, the possibility of a previously unidentified super predator is discussed.
The show promises to follow in the vein of all the “Mystery” documentaries before it; forty minutes of hypotheses and why they are utterly implausible, and then a six minute reveal showing the viewer how simple it was all along, but that the search for the unexplained will go on.
Sadly, genuinely interesting science like this is polluted by the over-exaggeration deemed necessary to garner more viewers for the networks. Many channels advertised to provide the audience with science are now riddled with mystery monsters and paranormal paradigms, shoveling the opinions of small town psychics and crack-teams of overpaid investigators down an unfortunately willing public’s throat. In truth, the mystery could be solved in the beginning and, rather than fabricating magical stories around the subject, the shows could let the science do the talking.
The evidence shown in the story of the great white shark is sensation in itself, and yet still within the realm of possibility when it comes to an explanation. The most realistic scenario being discussed on the internet for the footage that was uploaded is that the nine foot great white shark was simply eaten by a bigger shark, specifically a “colossal cannibal great white shark” as it is being called. Cannibalism in great whites is not unrealistic and territorial disputes often end in bloodshed. This understanding has been widely accepted by scientists and the creators of the show alike.
It does seem that even though the answer is plain to see and the science behind the theories is sound, there must be some sensationalistic twist in the story. Appealing to a broad audience is clearly important to any media distributor, however it must be pondered whether this tactic is as fruitful for ratings as straightforward science would be.
Did a mythical creature eat a great white shark? Definitely not, but could it be possible that instead of being dragged on a tour comprised of a mockery of logic and then a last-chapter realization of truth with a well-timed “We’ll be back,” the viewer could enjoy a truly factual experience wherein he or she would actually learn something far more fascinating than myth?
By: Rebecca Savastio