Monday, April 5, 2010 10:01am PDT

Great white shark amazes scientists with 4,000-foot dive into abyss

By: Pete Thomas,

A great white shark known to frequent New Zealand waters has given new meaning to the term "Down Under."

Scientists revealed that the 15-foot shark they've named "Shack" probed to 1,200 meters, or 3,937 feet, as it traveled across open ocean.

Malcolm Francis, principal scientist in charge of the tagging study, is calling this "the world's deepest great white shark dive record" and said it extends the predators' known vertical range by about 600 feet--which is substantial given that great whites, until fairly recently, were regarded as coastal predators.

If placed into perspective Shack might as well have been swimming upward into outer space: That's how bizarre the marine universe is at the depth to which the shark delved.

It passed through the Mesopelagic Zone (600-3,300 feet), also referred to as the "Twilight Zone," and continued well into the Bathypelagic Zone (3,300-13,000 feet), or the "Midnight Zone."

This is the realm of alien-like sea jellies and squids. It's also home to monster-like, needle-toothed predatory fishes and eels that utilize bioluminescence for light and have spawned nature TV specials and, subsequently, nightmares.

What was Shack doing in the company of viperfish, hatchetfish, dragonfish, sabertooth fish, fangtooth fish and gulper eels?

Unfortunately, nobody knows with certainty. Scientists at New Zealand's National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research did not address this in a five-year study that also tracked the country's white sharks migrating to warmer areas during the winter.

However, a Southern California-based researcher, who has tracked great whites to about 3,000 feet, believes they're searching for food at deep-water haunts. The chief food source would be various squid species, including the fabled giant squid, whose epic battles with sperm whales are legendary.

Michael Domeier, who runs the Marine Science Conservation Institute in Fallbrook, has offered this theory based largely on anecdotal evidence.

His study has tracked white sharks from Guadalupe Island off Mexico to a vast, mid-Pacific area between Baja California and Hawaii. A similar tagging effort at the Farallon Islands west of San Francisco has followed white sharks to the same spring-and-early-summer habitat.

In this area there is little productivity. However, scientists have seen squid there, and they've encountered sperm whales, which might imply a squid-based ecosystem far below the surface. Domeier's crew also found a giant squid carcass that had been chewed on.

Though other scientists do not qualify this as proof, the theory is not far-fetched (there are giant squid off New Zealand, too). And as for possible encounters between great whites and giant squid, that's a TV special the "Shark Week" producers at the Discovery Channel ought to be working on without delay.

--Note: Sources for this story include scientists form the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, Calif.

--Photos: White shark image courtesy of RTSea Productions. Fangtooth image courtesy of Monterey Bay Research Institute

Channels: SurfOutdoor

Tags: Sharkswhite sharks


Two years later, alien-like sea creature gains Internet stardom

Two years later, alien-like sea creature gains Internet stardom

Rare creatures are deceivingly swift

Among the more bizarre-looking visitors to California waters this summer are Mola molas, or ocean sunfish, which are being seen in unusually high numbers. But it's a stunning photograph of one of these gentle giants that appears to be getting the most attention. The image, captured off San Diego by Daniel Botelho, became an instant hit after being posted last week on his Facebook page.

"It got 1,000 'likes' in 36 hours," said Botelho, an award-winning photojournalist who..


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Posted by tlnash April 6, 2010 02:51pm PDTReply | Report Abuse

Can't wait to send this to my daughter. She is in love with sharks, mainly bulls but also great whites. Can't seem to get her to change her mind. She has been this way since she was 8 and know she is almost 18.


Reply by beaver02 April 6, 2010 10:10pm PDTReport Abuse

There has been some research done lately as well stating that the sharks are making practice attacks on seals and sea lions not eating them just attacking them and leaving them. As well as some studies are showing that the sharks are beginning to work in groups or packs to survive. Plus the sharks can work as a group to take down a sperm whale and that is plenty of blubber and nutriants to survive on for quite some time. As far as the squid go the great whites are also oppertunistic predators and if a squid was to come by they prob. would not hesitate to take a bite and unlike a sperm whale the whites are designed with a lot better teeth and more hydrodynamic design for better speed and manouverability as well as a blood system that keeps them warm which would help out in those deep cold areas. So with all the evidence provided above the oldest and best predator to ever live has just learned some new tricks to put in the old playbook.


Reply by neo1mantra April 6, 2010 11:14pm PDTReport Abuse

You a creepy mo fo


Reply by s_saiyajin April 7, 2010 07:23am PDTReport Abuse


julia rivera

Reply by julia rivera April 7, 2010 07:23am PDTReport Abuse

no he is just smart

jules miller

Reply by jules miller April 7, 2010 09:27am PDTReport Abuse

Beaver02, thank you for your intelligent addition to this article. It's nice to see an educated person speak about a shark in terms of anything other than sport fishing.


Reply by incubus April 30, 2010 08:54am PDTReport Abuse

@ beaver02: are you kidding me? - even orcas (which, I might add, are known to kill and *eat* great whites) won't attack spermwhales, and they're far more effective pack predators than sharks will ever be. (keep in mind that sharks don't have an effective means of communication, while orcas use their 'sonar language' to coordinate attacks and improvise whenever something unexpected happens - which is one of the reasons why instances of packs of orcas killing whales are common and well-documented, while instances of packs of sharks hunting whales are practically unheard of).

As for your remark about the teeth; FYI, spermwhales (along with most other squid-eating cetaceans) swallow squid whole. They don't even *use* their teeth when eating squid, simply because sucking them in and swallowing them right away is much more effective than biting them to pieces.

As for the possebility of great whites hunting squid in deep water; considering that squid and cuttlefish are among the favourite prey of reef sharks and IIRC bullsharks, I really wouldn't be suprised.


Reply by drudown September 1, 2010 09:50pm PDTReport Abuse

A couple of thoughts. I am particularly intrigued by the giant squid hypothesis, i.e., because nobody has observed White sharks mating, not to mention the ostensible severity, I have never fully endorsed the idea the scars commonly seen on large sharks are "mating" scars. Perhaps the marks of giant squid? Or a giant red herring, can't tell which. As for White sharks "group hunting" - I think White sharks have learned that when a prey item tries to evade another attacking White shark, it is effective to swim in almost concurrently to realize an opportunity. But this is hardly "group hunting" in any mammalian sense. Recall, most "group hunting" involves closely related groups of lions, chimps or orca, et al. Being highly migratory, I would imagine unrelated sharks are just being opportunistic, but very aware nonetheless. I notived this behavior on a cage dive, i.e., two White sharks converged on a noise I created on the cage. But these sharks hunting as a team? Uh, no. Last thing. People. The notion that White sharks need some high caloric intake (seal) to "justify" the energy expediture of an attack is a myth. White sharks are generalist feeders that will eat very small fish or marine life. Humans are made of protein, not cardboard. A full human leg is enough to get to the next meal, believe that.


Posted by myrealmx April 6, 2010 02:54pm PDTReply | Report Abuse

Would a squid even have enough caloric value for a Great White? Humans are generally spit-out by Great Whites, for their lack'off "nutritional" value relative to fatty seals, tuna, and whale blubber.


Reply by sweetpea1979 April 6, 2010 03:01pm PDTReport Abuse

I was curious about that myself...

On a side note it would be awesome to see a giant squid battle it out with a great white.


Reply by aztectemplar April 6, 2010 03:43pm PDTReport Abuse

If giant squids can feed a Sperm Whale, which is considerably larger than a Great White, why couldn't it possibly feed the shark?
As long as the shark eats many squid to keep its needed diet, it's completely possible. Great Whites usually favor seals because of their fat. However, they also dine on 6-7 foot tuna and such. So a giant squid would be a good meal for a shark.


Reply by ehawk7 April 6, 2010 03:51pm PDTReport Abuse

I think the SyFy channel has a movie about a mega-shark fighting a giant squid. Epic.


Reply by ehawk7 April 6, 2010 03:53pm PDTReport Abuse

Its actually "Mega-Shark vs. Giant Octopus" and it stars Lorenzo Lamas and Debbie Gibson. Awesomely bad...crack open a bottle of wine, grab some Jr. Mints, and have fun!!!

bethany crotts

Reply by bethany crotts April 6, 2010 07:45pm PDTReport Abuse

Haven't there been things like tires and random other inedible things found in the digestive tract of great whites? I'm not too sure they spend a whole lot of time pondering the nutritional value of that stuff. Just sayin.

marty loftin

Reply by marty loftin April 6, 2010 09:29pm PDTReport Abuse

The sharks don't dive deep to eat the squid. They're slumming for some sweet squid sex.
all is explained by Sharktopus


Posted by biggielsc April 6, 2010 02:55pm PDTReply | Report Abuse

"And as for possible encounters between great whites and giant squid, that's a TV special the "Shark Week" producers at the Discovery Channel ought to be working on without delay."

-------- I thought It was not proper written if starting a sentence with "and".


Reply by butterflyglenna April 6, 2010 03:14pm PDTReport Abuse

"I thought It was not proper written if starting a sentence with "and"." No offense buddy, but you have no room critiquing their grammar. Your sentence structure is for worse than their attempt at starting a sentence with "And". And for future reference, it is becoming more acceptable in the written English language to use a conjunction at the beginning of a sentence when done so properly. Google it and you'll learn more about it. In the mean time, worry about correcting your own sentence structure before worrying about this single conjunction confusion.


Reply by buddy12345 April 6, 2010 03:31pm PDTReport Abuse

Hey buddy, I think that you meant far not "for". lolol

kodi williams

Reply by kodi williams April 6, 2010 03:37pm PDTReport Abuse

In terms of English papers its not. The sad thing is that youth use it so much its becoming the new norm. I myself am not the best grammar person as i have filled my head with physics and calculus, but i would have left out the and and started the sentence with "As for......"


Reply by kmcdunn April 6, 2010 04:28pm PDTReport Abuse

It was a stylistic rule back in the 40s or 50s or so to never begin a sentence with "and" or "but," but this rule has been largely abandoned today. There was simply no grammatical reason for it. Beginning with "and" or "but" doesn't change the logical meaning of the sentence (as "true" errors like double-negatives do), and serves nicely to conjunctively or disjunctively link the sentence's idea to the previous. Using the old rule you could use the exact same words and just replace the period with a semicolon, but this was unnecessary and just made the sentence seem tediously long.

jameson maloney

Reply by jameson maloney April 6, 2010 05:58pm PDTReport Abuse

its so pathetic when people argue about grammer. didnt know we were in school. people online focus on efficiency not proper sentence structure and grammer. go ahead and pick my reply apart, and while ur at it pick apart some text messages. if people need to they will write with precision, but online no one gives a shit. its hilarious watching people use grammer as their only insult, it just makes urself look stupid.


Reply by mogunator April 6, 2010 06:32pm PDTReport Abuse

well i can totally understand what you mean.. for someone who can't even spell grammAr of course you wouldn't care. :)

anthony sarmiento

Reply by anthony sarmiento April 6, 2010 06:40pm PDTReport Abuse

many people would agree with all of your corrections but i myself as a 15 year old going to highschool get really pissed and i hate it with a pasion when people/kids talk well ghetto i think its dumb on their part and not only stupid but gramicly incorect.. when a kid says how you sound i reply. i sound normal.. when they say real talk i say i dont understand is my talk fake? i know what they are saying but it really gets me mad.. i hate my school for the kids who " act black or in their talk hardbody"


Reply by gizzyisgay April 6, 2010 07:18pm PDTReport Abuse

passion**** hahahahahahaha your school must be proud of you


Reply by jimmystewart April 6, 2010 09:28pm PDTReport Abuse

You are a moron butterflyglenna. He was writing it that way for humor. It's called irony.

robert goodin

Reply by robert goodin April 7, 2010 05:53am PDTReport Abuse

Wow, you all need a life. You do realize that your are critiquing some thing some dude (or chick) wrote on the internet, don't you? Does it really matter how his English is if you can understand him? It is not a term paper or anything.

frankie caputo

Reply by frankie caputo April 7, 2010 08:10am PDTReport Abuse

dun dunn. dun dunn... dun dun.. duN DUNN!!! GRAMMAR SHARK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!@!$#


Reply by ehawk7 April 7, 2010 08:21am PDTReport Abuse

I want a GRAMMAR SHARK t-shirt. Nice work Frankie.

dylan buchman

Reply by dylan buchman April 7, 2010 08:48am PDTReport Abuse

Pete Thomas' article is filled with spelling and grammar errors, but I am quite sure he could not care less. Thomas wrote the article to inform people about the idiosyncratic great white shark, not to flaunt impeccable grammar, spelling, rhetoric, or diction. Who cares whether 'and' is properly placed in an internet article about a shark? Ironically, your sentence is far more defective than any of those in the article. And the rest of you that are critiquing the article do need to find some better use of your time. Butterflyglenna, frankie caputo and kyle parks' comments are amusing though; and I agree with robert goodin.


Reply by loanmanshah April 7, 2010 09:20am PDTReport Abuse

YO KYLE PARKS.....good chit my sharked all these minnow's with that one....oops i prolly spelled it we go


Posted by dizzy21 April 6, 2010 03:12pm PDTReply | Report Abuse

This whole sentence is just way to funny. You as in biggielsc need to go back to elementary school and learn how to "properly" write a sentence.


Reply by zakg April 6, 2010 08:20pm PDTReport Abuse

WOW the Start of a Flame War between Two Nerds talkin Stuff over a Shark Article, You guys maybe Grammatically Correct, But Socially Retarded.


Posted by klutshplayer April 6, 2010 03:13pm PDTReply | Report Abuse

No need to point that out it adds absolutely nothing of value to the story. But if you insist on pointing out people's grammatical errors a good rule of thumb is to be gramamtically correct yourself.
" I thought It was not proper written if starting a sentence with and" Is an abomination! Why you no can grammar bud?


Posted by ariel340 April 6, 2010 03:13pm PDTReply | Report Abuse

WOW! I supose it must be pitch dark down there, how it would make to see?


Reply by dysfn April 6, 2010 08:20pm PDTReport Abuse

Thousands of posts beginning with the word "and" have settled in the Bathypelagic Zone -- the resultant flame casts a bright light....


Reply by chiggy806 April 6, 2010 08:30pm PDTReport Abuse

Using their gelatinous "pits of lorenzini" sharks can sense electrical pulses such as those emitted by muscular activity. They also have chemotactic organs concentrated on the anterior part of their cephalic cavity and pits full of cilia homogeneous to that of our third semicircular internal ear canal all over their lateral line system. Considering all these sensory organs, I hardly think the shark even needs vision to navigate at great depths.


Reply by ariel340 April 6, 2010 08:39pm PDTReport Abuse

@chiggy806 Thank you.


Reply by derp April 7, 2010 05:33pm PDTReport Abuse

@chiggy806 Technically they are called ampulae of lorenzini


Posted by white2rabbit April 6, 2010 03:34pm PDTReply | Report Abuse

I've never seen any tentical scars on any great white pic. So, unless the great white gobbles up the squid, I don't think there are any encounters between the two.
I think the great white was just curious. I's not like it has to worry too much about other predators.


Reply by doodybritches April 6, 2010 06:38pm PDTReport Abuse

Because you get your magnifying glass out and examine all the pictures taken of great whites?

anthony sarmiento

Reply by anthony sarmiento April 6, 2010 06:43pm PDTReport Abuse

lol XD


Reply by white2rabbit April 7, 2010 12:27pm PDTReport Abuse

lol, thats true.
I base my observation on the spermwhale's battered appearance. The great white's body looks practically untouched.
A feeling I can't relate too.


Reply by white2rabbit April 7, 2010 12:36pm PDTReport Abuse

p.s. my profile picture is a sperm whale with scars from the infamous giant squid. Show me one with a great white and prove me wrong, mr. doodybritches.

rob b

Posted by rob b April 6, 2010 03:39pm PDTReply | Report Abuse

The Great White is such a beautiful graceful powerful predator, and should be protected way more than it is. It is absolutely beautiful. I for one am a huge fan.

anthony sarmiento

Reply by anthony sarmiento April 6, 2010 06:44pm PDTReport Abuse

i agree.. i think people blame the shark for to much ... just like we attack animals that are"scary bigger and stronger than us" isn't that the exact thing the shark is doing..


Reply by kgolomski April 6, 2010 08:14pm PDTReport Abuse

I agree, the great white is beautiful and graceful, and it's delicious as well. There are so many ways to prepare it, you can bake it, steam it, or just grill it. Yup ..... great whites are awesome !!!


Posted by loanmanshah April 6, 2010 03:44pm PDTReply | Report Abuse

der dem of sum of da guud tahkin bout sentences and grammer and tings and chit....what about the deep sea creatures and sharks and stuff?


Reply by billiam7787 April 6, 2010 05:02pm PDTReport Abuse

im sure u wrote this to be sarcastic, but does anyone else find it extremely annoying to see people trying to write with an "accent"?


Reply by mogunator April 6, 2010 06:34pm PDTReport Abuse

YES! -> billiam7787

anthony sarmiento

Reply by anthony sarmiento April 6, 2010 06:47pm PDTReport Abuse

i find it annoying and it really "grinds my gears" as a 15 year old in my highschool almost 80% of the kids talk this way. it really makes me upset and what makes me wonder is why do i even hang out with them


Reply by billiam7787 April 6, 2010 07:14pm PDTReport Abuse

while talking that way is annoying too, i absolutely find writing that way to sound like ur talking that way idiotic and instantly discredits whatever point they are trying to say immediately.....

and so little info has been collected on these creatures that we just dont know for sure if they do eat squid or not, just cuz we havent found any marks doesnt mean anything. i still remember when the longest lived wild great white that was caught and put in an aquarium lived for no more than two weeks

dylan buchman

Reply by dylan buchman April 7, 2010 08:55am PDTReport Abuse

Yes it is extremely annoying, but I appreciate the sarcasm in it.


Posted by monicarichards1994 April 6, 2010 03:49pm PDTReply | Report Abuse

thats ok it just show how we dont no much about shark now days there sit alot to learn.


Reply by billiam7787 April 6, 2010 07:15pm PDTReport Abuse

i agree, look up ^^


Posted by ehawk7 April 6, 2010 04:14pm PDTReply | Report Abuse

This reminds me of the SyFy channel instant classic "Mega-Shark vs. Giant Octopus" starring Lorenzo Lamas and Debbie Gibson b(yes...I said Debbie Gibson). Awesomely bad...crack open a bottle of wine, grab some Jr. Mints, and have fun!! It's the perfect appetizer to "Mega-Pirahna"

timmy victor williams

Posted by timmy victor williams April 6, 2010 04:27pm PDTReply | Report Abuse

wow thats crazy


Posted by tes1177 April 6, 2010 04:37pm PDTReply | Report Abuse

A shark has a set of special olfactory receptors. It can smell the water in a sense. It's drawn to the deep by blood and it was just there to see if it snack on what ever it smelled. I think it would most likely be blind in the water that deep. But maybe not with its blood hound like abilities. i wonder if a shark has ever been caught with tentacle sucker-ring marks? Like on a sperm whale. then again a shark could just go deep enough to see all the deep sea critters light up. then just hunt the lights.


Reply by doodybritches April 6, 2010 06:40pm PDTReport Abuse

Wow another shark specialist

dark farmer

Reply by dark farmer April 7, 2010 04:15am PDTReport Abuse

Has anyone considered the skin of a shark yet? is it not true that they are made of little barbs that act like sand paper when rubbed against? If you was a squid and you tried to grab something that was cutting your suckers open, would you bothered to hold on? If you consider the way a shark attacks you would also consider that the squid may have not the chance to defend itself before losing a chunk out of his body. Things people over look when trying to seem intelligent are very wonderful facts that are easily Googled.Oh and for the english professors on here......seriously is there a reason to be that rude about how people talk to rather type the way they talk? DO you honestly strive to speak with the most proper of english terminology? By the way...For the kid in high school, if you can not stand they way your 'friends' talk then why do you hang out with them? Seems a bit of a hypocritical state if being does it not?


Posted by hausfromgap April 6, 2010 04:52pm PDTReply | Report Abuse

Good on ya SHACK!!!! Keep 'em guessing!!!

cory scott

Posted by cory scott April 6, 2010 05:04pm PDTReply | Report Abuse

Maybe he was thinking that if he went deep enough the pressure would crush the satellite tracking device stuck to his dorsal fin and make it fall off.


Reply by ehawk7 April 6, 2010 05:09pm PDTReport Abuse

totally! I'd want to get that damn thing off if I was a shark.

rob b

Posted by rob b April 6, 2010 05:15pm PDTReply | Report Abuse

So my comment about him diving deep to avoid the japanese shark fin fishing boats was taken off because someone was offended? Gimme a break!!!


Reply by mxgrl88 April 6, 2010 05:42pm PDTReport Abuse

Japanese shark fishing and whaling boats should be eaten by great white sharks.


Reply by snookslayer April 7, 2010 06:41am PDTReport Abuse

jap shark fishing ships and waling ships need 2 b sunk on site!!!!!!

dylan buchman

Reply by dylan buchman April 7, 2010 09:01am PDTReport Abuse

shack should resurface to eat the jap shark-fishing boats.


Posted by tenssleep April 6, 2010 05:58pm PDTReply | Report Abuse

Perhaps the depth the shark dove to has nothing to do with feeding. Could it be possible? Of course it's possible. How much of the Earth's waters have we explored? 1% maybe? How much do we really know about the habits of sea creatures? Practically nothing! That is why scientists tag and follow them. For all we know, a deep dive to great pressure is like a visit to the chiropractor. Who the *^@!$*^ knows. Certainly there is a reason why it goes there, right? Maybe there is no reason. Perhaps the shark decided to go deep with no reason. Just as any of you can turn left or right at the light tomorrow or go straight ahead just out of free will. All animals including us follow instinct. But, it is my belief, that almost all the higher forms of life have a degree of free will. Who knows, but one.


Posted by tenssleep April 6, 2010 06:36pm PDTReply | Report Abuse

You retards took almost half of the webpage making stupid comments about people's grammer. Why don't you try to get on the topic a little! I just farted, it was greasy


Reply by gizzyisgay April 6, 2010 07:18pm PDTReport Abuse



Posted by doodybritches April 6, 2010 06:44pm PDTReply | Report Abuse

Maybe he was diving that deep to get away from all those crazy Cleveland fans.


Posted by gallantentry April 6, 2010 07:57pm PDTReply | Report Abuse

I'm no shark expert...LOL, but maybe the shark wanted to "go down" in history and leave those scientists what a 'tru' shark c'n doo.
I'm sharked. :)

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