Shark eaten by super predator–but not another shark

A while ago, there was an interesting story about a three-meter great white shark off the coast of Australia that got eaten by something.

Photo by Brocken Inaglory via wikimedia commons
Photo by Brocken Inaglory via wikimedia commons

It had been tagged by scientists, who later found the tag washed up on the beach. The tag recorded:

The shark was hanging out near the surface, when it suddenly dived 2000 feet.

The recorded temperature rose from 46 degrees to 78 degrees immediately, suggesting the shark was eaten very quickly, perhaps swallowed whole.

The tag rode inside the bigger animal at various depths, but mostly near the surface, until it was expelled 8 days later.

So! Apparently a documentary just aired saying that the shark was eaten by a bigger shark, possibly a megalodon. Which is pretty cool, but not entirely accurate. Max Hawthorne on Facebook wrote an excellent article dissecting the facts, and I’ve reproduced his article here, with permission.


SUPER PREDATOR – IT’S NOT WHAT THEY SAY IT IS by Max Hawthorne

I watched the documentary “Super Predator” recently. It’s the follow-up to last year’s “Hunt for the Super Predator.” I enjoyed both shows, but after having studied all the data, I find myself compelled to weigh in, because something’s not right.

Last year’s show (and I have no doubt they’ve set things up for a third episode for next year) ended with the premise that the creature that devoured a 3-meter great white shark (named “Shark Alpha” in the Bremer canyon off AU was simply a larger (i.e. 5-meter) great white. I thought this was rubbish. There was no definitive proof of the claim, and it was, IMHO, a fluff piece to quell the media storm and put people’s minds at ease.

In this year’s show, the filmmakers changed their story. Now they’ve presented the theory that a MUCH larger shark, i.e. a Carcharodon megalodon – one that inhabits the abyssal depths – was responsible for the attack on Shark Alpha. They backed this up with a photo of an 80-foot pygmy blue whale sporting a bite scar on its peduncle measuring a whopping 5 feet across. They also stated that the shark that unsuccessfully attacked the pygmy blue would have measured nearly 40 feet in length.

The facts dictate otherwise.

1- Per http://www.cwr.org.au/research/bluewhales.html, the pygmy blue measured 20-21 meters, i.e. a maximum of 69 feet.

2- Also, per the same site’s data, the bite on the whale’s tail measured a maximum of 1.2 meters across. That’s a smidgen less than 4 feet, not 5, indicating a shark around 32 feet long. A sub-adult Megalodon? Possibly. Or maybe just a really huge great white.

3- There is no indication that this pygmy blue whale was attacked in the Bremer canyon, so any insinuation that the shark that bit the whale is the same animal that devoured Shark Alpha is a stretch.

4- Per her satellite tag/tracker, Alpha’s body temperature, when attacked, was confirmed at 46 degrees Fahrenheit. Her body temperature, again per the tag, went from 46 to 78 degrees almost instantly after she was devoured.

5- White sharks have a body temperature that normally ranges from 10-14 degrees Fahrenheit above the surrounding water (the inside of the belly being the highest temp differential). Under extreme circumstances, the maximum differential has been listed at a difference of 25 degrees.

6- Based on body temperature alone, there is no way shark alpha was eaten by another great white. The temperature difference is too extreme. Moreover, if Megalodon is still alive, and has a body temperature anything like its relative, the great white, (a reasonable assumption), it would also fall within this range.

7- Megalodon was a shallow water predator. It makes no sense that it would loiter in the extreme deep where little food exists. Especially not when a banquet of whales waits at the surface.

8- The “Hunt for the Super Predator” special showed that the creature that ate Alpha remained at depths ranging from the surface to 300 feet immediately after feeding, and for the next 8 days, until the tracker/tag was excreted. This was ignored by the new show, assumedly as it would derail their “Abyssal Megalodon” theory. In fact, the “super predator’s” movements in the water column are, in actuality, similar to those of an Orca. It indicates an air breathing predator that does NOT live in the darkness of the abyss.

9- This fact is backed up by Alpha’s behavior, immediately prior to her being consumed. Once attacked, she dove to nearly 2,000 feet at high speed before she was caught and killed. This indicates an attacker that was both fast and capable of deep dives, as well as being able to accurately track fleeing prey in complete darkness (echolocation, anyone?).

10- Retreating/emergency diving to extreme depths when threatened or attacked is a documented tactic white sharks employ when one of their number has been killed by Orcas. This raises the possibility that Shark Alpha may have instinctively tried to employ this same tactic in an attempt to flee what she recognized as a large, air-breathing carnivore.

11- Per the tracker/tag, the digestive process of the “super predator” took 8 days. A great white’s digestive tract takes 24-48 hours, from what I’ve read. Something else digested Alpha – something that dissolves its meal slowly – and based on my experience keeping large crocodilians and such, that would seem to indicate a reptile.

Green sea turtle grazing sea grass, by P.Lindgren, via wikimedia commons
Green sea turtle grazing sea grass, by P.Lindgren, via wikimedia commons

12- Lastly, adult leatherback sea turtles have been known to have core body temperatures 32 degrees Fahrenheit above the surrounding sea water. If the water temperature around shark alpha was 46 degrees and you add 32 to it, you get the EXACT 78 degree body temperature of the Super Predator. Of course, leatherbacks eat jellyfish, not 3-meter white sharks. But the interesting thing about them is that they ARE marine reptiles. This implies that the creature that ate Alpha may ALSO have been a marine reptile of some kind.

(Note: Orcas, the other proposed predator here, have an internal body temperature of 97.5 –100.4 degrees F.)

SUMMARY: THE EVIDENCE SUPPORTS MY HYPOTHESIS THAT SHARK ALPHA WAS EATEN BY A LARGE, AIR BREATHING ANIMAL: ONE THAT COULD NAVIGATE IN TOTAL DARKNESS, SURVIVE THE PRESSURES OF THE ABYSS, CATCH A FLEEING GREAT WHITE SWIMMING AT 30+ MPH & SWALLOW IT WHOLE, HAD A BODY TEMPERATURE 32 DEGREES HIGHER THAN THE SURROUNDING WATER, HABITUALLY STAYED NEAR THE SURFACE FOR 8+ DAYS AFTER EATING ITS MEAL, AND TOOK 8 DAYS TO DIGEST.

CONCLUSION: SHARK ALPHA WAS CONSUMED BY A HUGE MARINE REPTILE: DISCLUDING UNKNOWN SPECIES AND FOCUSING ON THE FOSSIL RECORD, POSSIBLE CANDIDATES INCLUDE EITHER A GIANT MOSASAUR OR A PLIOSAUR. GIVEN THE DEPTHS THE PREDATOR DESCENDED TO IN PURSUIT OF THE SHARK, AND THAT MOSASAURS WERE SHALLOW DIVING, COLD-BLOODED REPTILES LIKE THEIR MODERN RELATIVES, MONITOR LIZARDS, I’M BETTING ON THE LATTER.

A Prognathodon saturator swimming in prehistoric waters.
A Prognathodon saturator swimming in prehistoric waters.

kronos_rising_hug_your_pliosaur_poster

Looks like KRONOS RISING may not be pure fiction after all.

Max Hawthorne, author
www.kronosrising.com


Very provocative article! Max has written a book that is essentially Jaws, with a mosasaur, so naturally he’s very interested in the idea of these dudes swimming around out there.

What do you think? Giant shark, or giant swimming lizard? Personally, I wouldn’t go swimming out in those Australian waters if you paid me.

EDIT: Please address all questions and arguments to Max Hawthorne’s Facebook page.

Sketch: Monolophosaurus

Everybody knows the dilophosaurus, the little spitter dinosaur from the first Jurassic Park with his fancy headware.

dilophosaurus-jp

Did you know that there’s a MONO-lophosaurus? (Mono … di … you can tell they’re named for their crest numbers.) These guys have only one crest, which makes them look like they have a huge snout. I had to draw some, just for the fun of it.

monolophosaurus-sketch

I’d like to color them, too, eventually. I love the weird, less common dinosaurs!

T-rex and pumpkins-sketch

I saw a picture with a cougar chewing on a pumpkin, and I thought–why not a t-rex?

Here’s my rough with the shadows and highlights.

trex-pumpkin-unfinished

I really tried to study skeletons for the way the light would fall on the face, in particular. Monitor lizards have a similar structure to tyrannosaurs (that I can find), and the light falls on their head in this funny wedge-shape.

Also the chest muscles. I did some comparative checking, and a reptile’s forelimbs (like an iguana’s) have a similar bone structure to the tyrannosaur’s. So I built the muscles all fat and bulgy, like a healthy lizard’s should look. I don’t see a lot of artwork that draws breast muscles on a tyrannosaur, but most animals have them. And the rex was supposed to have extremely strong forearms, so why not?

Anyway, more coming soon. This pic is sheer joy, beginning to end.

Revised character sketch

I’m trying to get back to sketching a bit every night. My art skills are alarmingly rusty.

So here’s my character Slasher, if I had designed her with the modern view of feathery velociraptors.

Notice the robotic structure in the larger wings.

modern-slasher

She’s a lot more interesting-looking, that’s for sure!

Amazing fluffy velociraptor

I was thinking about that Balaur Bondoc dino. You know, the velociraptor with the extra toe claw?

Anyway, there’s a kind of chicken that has an extra toe. Kind of an adorable little mutant. It has down instead of feathers and is called a silkie.

BuffSilkieHen

See her extra toes? So what if the Balaur was a silkie raptor?

fluffy-raptors

I think raptors look more like roadrunners, but they’re awfully cute as silkies. 🙂

Map of the pre-flood world

The Ica stones are really controversial. They’re really old rocks with carvings of dinosaurs and stuff on them, and people riding the dinosaurs. But it’s shockingly close to our modern depictions, so people brush them off as frauds. Even though when they were discovered, people thought dinosaurs were big stupid tail-dragging lizards and would have depicted them as such.

ica_stone

I love how this one is a guy going hunting with an eagle or something, and his dinosaur mount is biting his leg. This isn’t something modern man commonly depicts the cliche gentle plant-eaters doing.

Anyway, there’s lots more stuff on the Ica stones than just dinosaurs. There’s medical procedures like C-sections and surgeries, and astronomy stuff. While I was poking around Google, just looking at the pictures, I ran across these maps.

Maps that creepily fit the preflood world as described in the Bible.

003-mapa-mundial-gr-zoom

Genesis 2:10-14: And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads.
The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold;
And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone.
And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia.
And the name of the third river is Hiddekel [Tigris]: that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates.

005-mapa-mundia-zoom

There are four lands and four rivers shown here. The lands are broken down into grids to show the people and animals living in each area, like lots of cave-drawing types of maps do. It’s a logical pictograph way to convey information. You can see where the ocean started. This is actually a fine drawing of the theoretical Pangaea, before the continents split in Noah’s flood.

(I don’t think they actually split–I think it happened like Psalm 104 says: “The mountains rose, the valleys sank down to the place which You appointed for them. You have set a boundary [for the waters] which they may not pass over, that they turn not again to deluge the earth.” And given what we know of tectonic plate theory, this makes more sense.)

Researching the Ica stones is great fun. People gnash their teeth and call them frauds, but the fact remains that there’s over 11,000 of the things. S8int.com has a nice compilation of research and writings about them here.

Drawing fun

It’s really fun taking a reference and interpeting it into a picture.

Check this out. This is a Mesopotamian seal cylinder currently housed in the Louvre.

Cylinder_seal_lions_Louvre_MNB1167

I tried to draw the closest approximation of a sauropod I could get.

musclesaurus

It was actually really easy, because all the details are there, even the toes. I think this may have been a prosauropod, actually, because of the body’s slimness. Anyway, this was TONS of fun to draw. Also I made leaf brushes for the background, and I’m actually happy with how the foliage came out, for once. I have a ways to go still, but I’m on the right track.

I looked up Digimon season 1 for giggles the other day, and now the kids are totally hooked. I forgot how much I enjoyed Digimon, even though back when I originally watched it, I disapproved of anime and only watched it covertly.

I thought it’d be fun to draw Garurumon as if he was a real wolf.

Here’s the anime version:

Garurumon.jpg

Here’s my sketchy real-wolf version:

real-garurumon-sketch

This is, like, disgustingly fun to draw. I’m totally going to do Graymon next (the t-rex one).

Dinos in the new year

Everybody’s posting new year’s resolutions and stuff, since it’s January 1st. I have a few goals for this year. Let’s see if I accomplish any of ’em:

Get Storm Chase queried around and possibly picked up for publication/published.

Draw more dinosaurs based on cryptozoology and make the paleoartists mad. (I’ve already had some success in this area! I was warned not to use creationist propaganda to inform my dinosaur art. Isn’t it hilarious?)

My buzzword for this year is Hope. Hoping in Jesus, hoping that He really does know the plans he has for us, and that they’re to prosper us and not harm us.

I know last year I’d wanted my son to be reading on his own, and he is. He wants to sight-read everything and never sound out a thing (he’s like his mama), but he can read pretty much whatever he wants now. That’s not really a resolution, though.

Anyway, about my latest dinosaur scribble.

A while back I posted a link to this website, where this guy theorizes that iguanadons had external ears like horses. I like the idea of duckbills in general having ears, and in particular, I find this Chinese Dragon statue very provocative.

Chinese dragon statue

It’s a duckbill. With ears.

So I went and studied duckbill skulls. A lot of hadrosaurs have very large ear-hole openings, like cows and horses do, but this particular kind of dinosaur (a parasarolophus) stumped me. I can’t see where its ears are at all. But I drew them anyway.

parasarolophus-pair

It makes them so dang cute!

Quick doodle

I got a new tablet for Christmas (I’m still geeking out about it!). Here’s one of the things I doodled–my avatar from years ago, done up in the My Little Pony style.

mlp-slasher

I’ve been experimenting with editing stock photos to make book covers. I have no idea what I’m doing, still, but it’s been fun.