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IPFS News Link • Biology, Botany and Zoology

'Holy Grail of Shark Science' Caught on Camera Off US Coast – First Recording Ever...

• By Anthony Altomari

A California duo recently made a discovery they referred to as "the holy grail of shark science."

Phillip Sternes, a UC Riverside biology doctoral student, and Carlos Gauna, a wildlife filmmaker, captured a newborn great white shark shedding its embryonic layer in July 2023, according to SFGate.

The pair's findings were published on Jan. 29 in the scientific journal Environmental Biology of Fishes.

This may be the first time that such an event has ever been recorded.

"To capture this moment … it's the holy grail of shark science," Sternes told SFGate. "You're looking for such a specific moment in time and place. To be there in the right place at the right time … you're talking very slim chances. It's groundbreaking."

Sternes and Gauna observed the baby shark off the coast of Carpinteria, California. The two men were flying a drone over the water when a pale white shark caught their eyes.

They immediately knew they had something special on their hands.

"I just heard him say, 'Whoa,'" Sternes recalled. "I leaned over and got right behind him, and we saw this white object appear on the screen. I nearly fell out of my seat in excitement."

At first, they thought they were observing an albino shark, which would have been an extremely rare sighting of its own.

However, Sternes noticed that the shark was rather small, only about 5 feet in length, and had rounded fins, which are characteristic of newborn or embryonic sharks.