Dinosaur-Era Shark With Insane Teeth and Four Other Amazing Shark Stories From 2017

2017 saw a lot of amazing animal discoveries, from new dinosaurs to modern birds. But sharks had some unbelievable moments this year as well. Take a look back on the most bizarre and amazing shark discoveries of 2017.

Orcas Killed Great White Sharks and Ate their Livers

Killer whales lived up to their name in May when they allegedly killed three great white sharks, which people found dead off the coast of South Africa.

Even more bizarrely, the shark carcasses were recovered without their livers, and in one case, its heart. Scientists suspect orcas had slain the animals to eat their livers because the organs are full of squalene, a compound that is sometimes difficult for orcas to get in their diet.

 

Greenland shark may be more than 500 years old

A study published in 2016 gained international attention in December 2017 because it dated an ancient shark that could be the oldest living vertebrate.

Using radiocarbon dating on part of the animal’s eye lens, researchers found that one Greenland shark they studied was approximately 392 years old. Given that radiocarbon dating is 95 percent accurate, that means the shark could be between 272 and 512 years old.

Famous Tracked Shark Goes Silent

MaryLee_the_Shark Mary Lee when she was first captured and tagged on a research vessel. OCEARCH

The ocean research organization, Ocearch, has been tracking Mary Lee, a giant great white shark, for five years. But for the last six months of 2017, researchers haven’t received any pings from the animal's tracker, and they suspect they might never know where Mary Lee is going again.

Luckily, Mary Lee is probably fine—researchers suspect that the batteries in her tracker have simply died.

Alligators discovered to eat sharks

alligator_eating_shark An alligator eating a shark U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE J.N. "DING" DARLING NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE.

Despite their reputation as top predator, sometimes sharks can become prey as well. When not being eaten by killer whales, some sharks end up on the menu of toothy reptiles. In October, researchers published a paper documenting the stomach contents of 500 alligators, and found that they sometimes eat sharks.

Ancient Shark With Razor Teeth Found off Coast of Portugal

11_10_Frilled_shark_head2 This living fossil has remained unchanged for 80 million years. By OpenCage (http://opencage.info/pics.e/large_13408.asp) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons

Perhaps the most popular shark news this year involved the collection of a deep-sea, dinosaur-era shark. The frilled shark, which has rows of razor-sharp teeth, has existed in its current form for millions of years. Frilled sharks were swimming the ocean blue before dinosaurs appeared on Earth, making this collection a special glimpse into prehistory.

Join the Discussion