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Newborn great white shark spotted in first-ever sighting
Featured Image Credit: SWNS / Carlos Gauna/The Malibu Artist

Newborn great white shark spotted in first-ever sighting

The drone footage of what is believed to be a newborn great white shark was captured last summer.

The sighting of a new species or animal is an extremely exciting one, but perhaps no more so than this recent discovery.

In just the past month, scientists discovered the first-ever dolphin with 'thumbs' - something that well and truly got the internet talking.

Now, a newborn great white shark has been spotted in a first-time sighting off the coast of Santa Barbara, California.

Drone footage of the sighting has just been released, though the footage did come from 9 July, 2023.

The 1.5-meter-long (5-foot-long) white shark was spotted dangerously close to shore, as it was seen roaming just 400 meters (1,300 feet) off the coast of Carpinteria, California.

Wildlife filmmaker Carlos Gauna and Phillip Sternes, a doctoral student at University of California Riverside, were the two lucky ones to catch the amazing sighting.

The wildlife fanatics were just shooting aerial video and images on the fine summer day when they were shocked - but also delighted - to discover the newborn shark.

While the sighting was remarkable, the pair were initially puzzled by the unusual coloring and size of the great white.

A newborn great white shark has been captured in remarkable footage.

Typically, adult great white sharks are grey on top and white underneath, however this flock of the animal was a little different with a completely white coloring.

After examining the videos and the pictures, Gauna and Sternes picked up a thin, white film covering the shark that was sloughing off as it manoeuvred throughout the ocean.

In a press release, Sternes said: "We enlarged the images, put them in slow motion, and realized the white layer was being shed from the body as it was swimming.

"I believe it was a newborn white shark shedding its embryonic layer."

The pair have since published their findings from the drone footage in the Environmental Biology of Fishes.

Speaking to Guana told Gizmodo: "Capturing the actual birth is the holy grail of shark science. What I filmed is simply a clue that gets us closer to it.

Witnessing baby sharks is incredibly rare.
Getty Stock Image

"The piece of the puzzle this footage provides does have the potential to change the direction of where we should be looking and maybe even bigger implications for what areas should be protected."

The sighting truly makes history, because if their assessment is correct, then it's the first time that a newborn great white shark has ever been observed in the wild.

"Where white sharks give birth is one of the holy grails of shark science. No one has ever been able to pinpoint where they are born, nor has anyone seen a newborn baby shark alive,” Gauna added in the news release.

An alternative reason for the shark’s non-traditional color could be caused by an unknown skin condition, according to the study.

However, Gauna and Sternes believe the most plausible answer is that the shark is a newborn.

Topics: Animals, Shark, US News, World News