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World's first photo of newborn great white shark has been released

World's first photo of newborn great white shark has been released

Want to know what a baby great white shark looks like? Of course you do

The first ever photo of a newborn great white shark in the wild has been released, so now you can see what a baby killing machine of the seas looks like.

Scientists have seen older infant sharks and baby great whites inside the corpses of their pregnant mothers but this is the first time a living newborn has been seen in the wild.

The shark pictured could be just a few hours old, and it is hoped that experts will gain new insight into where great white sharks go to give birth.

The picture was taken on 9 July, 2023 when wildlife filmmaker Carols Gauna and UC Riverside PhD student Phillip Sternes were scanning the waters in Santa Barbara, California and spotted something unusual.

Great white sharks are usually grey on top and white on the bottom but the newborn fish was completely white.

This is what a baby shark (doo-doo doo-doo doo-doo) looks like.

Five feet long and pure white, the experts realised that the shark was shedding an 'embryonic layer' as it swam for the first few hours after being born.

"Where white sharks give birth is one of the holy grails of shark science," Gauna said of the discovery, and addressed the idea that this shark being completely white might be a unique condition.

“No one has ever been able to pinpoint where they are born, nor has anyone seen a newborn baby shark alive.

“There have been dead white sharks found inside deceased pregnant mothers. But nothing like this.

“If that is what we saw, then that too is monumental, because no such condition has ever been reported for these sharks."

They are sure that they did not see a unique albino shark, but instead a previously unobserved stage in the early development of a great white.

This is what the shark will look like one day, what a transformation.
Getty Stock Image

"Our first evidence is that great white females give birth to live pups," Sternes said of the information gleaned from sharks and offered a theory as to why the baby looked the way it did.

"While in utero, the embryonic sharks might feed on unfertilised eggs for protein.

"The mothers offer additional nourishment to the growing shark pups with a ‘milk’ secreted in the uterus.

"I believe what we saw was the baby shedding the intrauterine milk. In my opinion, this one was likely hours, maybe one day old at most."

With the baby shark spotted around 1,000 feet from the shoreline it also challenges some notions about where sharks give birth.

Many experts believe great whites give birth far out at sea, but this might suggest they actually do so in shallower waters.

Featured Image Credit: SWNS/Getty Stock Images

Topics: Sharks, Animals