Scientists looking to tag sharks in the waters near Cape Cod happened upon a group of hungry great white sharks tearing apart a humpback whale carcass.
The group caught the encounter on camera earlier this month, according to SWNS. Footage from the feeding frenzy shows around eight sharks ripping at the remains of a dead whale calf while seabirds fly above, ready to snatch their share.
Scientists from Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, who took to the waters off East Boston, Massachusettssets, to tag some basking sharks, are the lucky group that spotted this scene — first noticing the large carcass floating in the water moments before the sharks pounced.
The researchers managed to tag five of the feasting great whites, which are rarely seen on the water's surface, with special acoustic sensors. Now, the mysterious predators can be tracked and studied as they migrate for the winter.
Additionally, one of the marine biologists from the sanctuary managed to look at the pattern underneath the whale's tail fin and identified it as a one-year-old calf of a tagged and monitored mother whale named Venom.
The dead calf's young age means the marine mammal likely died after encountering a large boat, fishing net, or some other form of human interaction.
Humpback whales can grow up to 52 feet long and weigh over 79,000 pounds — the size of a school bus. The animals are frequently spotted feeding at the surface in summer, putting them at risk of getting in the pathway of boats.
However, as the remains of this calf were badly damaged by the sharks, it was impossible to confirm the calf's cause of death.
The carcass became negatively buoyant due to the feed and sank to the sea bed, providing food for other sea creatures for years to come.
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