Last week, I wrote about the mysterious creature off the coast of Australia that had gobbled up a nine-foot great white shark.
The gruesome story of Shark Alpha will be told in the Smithsonian's upcoming Hunt for the Super Predator documentary, which will most likely conclude by suggesting that a larger great white shark could have done the deed. This prompted several national science blogs—which had gotten wind of the video and brought it to my attention—to declare the mystery solved. NBC News published an especially skeptical take on the story, which I'm inclined to sum up as "grumble grumble grumble, it was obviously a shark, why do you consider this newsworthy, you're not even scientists, grumble grumble grumble." And that's a perfectly valid point of view, especially if you believe science is something about which the general public should have little knowledge or interest.
But for those of you who believe "best explanation I've heard so far" and "only explanation I'm willing to entertain" are not necessarily the same thing, I'm pleased to report that my friend Bruce Morgan Jr., an independent scholar, contacted Dave Riggs—who collected this information in the first place—and discovered some interesting facts:
So was this very large great white shark eaten by an even larger great white shark? As far as some people are concerned, the answer is an easy yes. As far as I'm concerned, the jury's out; until I see a stronger case that the culprit was a great white shark (and the Smithsonian documentary may help provide one), I'm not inclined to compress this ellipse into a period.
Think this is an open-and-shut case? Have your own theories as to what might have eaten the shark? You can share your thoughts below.