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Dead Great White Shark Surfaces On the Beach, With Body Parts Missing

Dead Great White Shark Surfaces On the Beach, With Body Parts Missing

Dead Great White Shark Surfaces On the Beach, With Body Parts Missing

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There are serial killers in our waters, and they’ve been hunting for livers. No, not human ones; these killers have taken a liking to great white shark livers, for now. 

One of their victims, a huge great white, recently washed up on a beach with most of its body intact. In fact, it was only missing one part of its body: the liver. It is consistent with hunting behavior scientists have been tracking for the past couple of years. 

The Body Had Information

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As May ended, a gruesome discovery was made by a local in southeast South Africa. It was the carcass of a 15-foot great white shark casually lying there on a beach close to the mouth of the Nyara River.

They reached out to local experts, who arrived hastily, doing all they could to learn about what had happened, as a day had passed since it surfaced. 

What They Found in Its Belly

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After a thorough examination, experts found parts of a common dolphin inside the shark’s stomach. It was cut into four neat pieces, leading officials to suspect it was a recent meal. They hypothesized that the shark had just finished dinner when it became something else’s food. 

The Missing Part

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Animals usually hunt for food, so you would expect to see a half-eaten carcass. However, even though it had clearly been hunted, the shark’s carcass was mostly untouched. The only thing that was gone was its liver, highlighting the fact that it was killed for just that and nothing more. But what could do such a thing?

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What Could Do Such a Thing?

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Clues from the body have also revealed that it most likely succumbed to a killer whale attack. Experts can not be 100% certain, but they believe an orca, another name for the Killer whales, was responsible for the killing.

Evidence That Implicated Orcas

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Scientists are convinced that a killer whale took down the shark, and some evidence points in that direction. A good one is the tooth markings on the shark’s head, consistent with prey fallen from orca attacks. It was a good clue, but what really gave them away was that only the liver was missing, something scientists have noticed orcas have been doing recently. 

A Disturbing Preference

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It was not until the last few years that scientists concluded that killer whales have been harvesting shark livers. They would attack one, surgically remove its liver, happily consume it, and then leave the lifeless body untouched. 

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Caught Red-handed

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The behavior initially came to light in 2017 when the bodies of five great white sharks were found missing nothing but the livers. It triggered an investigation and led experts to an ongoing crime scene. It happened in 2022 and was luckily captured by drone footage: two male orcas going after sharks and killing them for their livers. 

A Quick Death

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After they made the discovery, scientists focused on orcas, watching to see exactly how they were taking down these sharks. One day, they caught explicit footage of a great white shark getting attacked and killed by a killer whale who quickly removed its liver and showed it off to tourists on a nearby boat. 

Why the Obsession With Shark Livers?

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It is a mystery, and even scientists are still trying to figure it out. Why do these orcas want only shark livers? Some have theorized that the liver contains the nutrients orcas desire. They get to the liver by slicing the shark open at the shoulder, which gives them access to the liver without damaging their teeth on the rough skin of a shark.

It Is Happening Much More Often

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It used to happen in the past but not with such frequency, leading experts to believe it is evolving into a growing trend. Since 2015, killer whales, after only the liver, have taken down 14 great white sharks in South Africa, taking their livers in the process. This is a significant discovery, and experts will continue to study it to demystify it.

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The Trend May Continue

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According to those closest to the research, the trend may continue and even become routine. This is because as more orcas have success with those attacks, the more the skill will spread among their population, thanks to how quickly they pick up new hunting techniques.

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