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Could New Drone Footage Capture, for the First Time, Footage of a Newborn Great White Shark? Speculations Rise Among Experts

In the world of marine exploration, the mysteries surrounding great white sharks have long captivated both researchers and enthusiasts. Recently, a thrilling episode unfolded off the coast of Santa Barbara, California, where Carlos Gauna, renowned as TheMalibuArtist on YouTube for his captivating drone footage, stumbled upon a spectacle that has experts buzzing with excitement and speculation.

Gauna, whose videos have garnered tens of millions of views, has become well-known for his ability to capture sharks from above, offering a unique perspective that both amazes and, at times, raises heart rates. 

Last year, while patrolling a beach near Santa Barbara, Gauna and shark researcher Phil Sternes, from the University of California, Riverside, stumbled upon an unprecedented sight.

Amidst the waters known for hosting large sharks, Gauna's drone revealed a peculiar scene — a small, nearly albino-looking white shark surfacing. Intrigued, Gauna brought his drone closer, unveiling details that left both him and Sternes astonished. The shark appeared to be shedding a white layer, hinting at the possibility of it being a newborn. Sternes, unable to contain his excitement, noted that the shark's fins were more rounded, resembling features commonly seen in shark embryos and newborns.

Adult Great White Shark. Photo by Steve Woods

James Worthington from the University of San Diego further fuelled the speculation, estimating the shark's size to be around 1.5 meters (4.9 feet), fitting the profile of a newborn great white shark. The researchers' observations were documented in the journal Environmental Biology of Fishes, but not everyone in the scientific community is ready to jump to conclusions.

Dr. Chris Lowe, from California State University's shark lab, urged caution, suggesting alternative explanations like a skin disease. Lowe emphasised the need for a more substantial sample size and additional evidence before declaring the area as a potential pupping location. 

In their report, Sternes and Gauna acknowledged the possibility of a skin condition but argued that the distinctive white layer sets this case apart.

Drones have revolutionised shark research, enabling scientists and enthusiasts alike to observe shark behaviour in unprecedented ways. 

Gauna, armed with patience and his trusty drone, aspires to achieve an unprecedented milestone in marine cinematography - capturing the elusive moment of a great white shark's birth. 

The ocean's depths continue to conceal numerous secrets, and Gauna's quest adds another layer of anticipation to the ongoing exploration of these majestic creatures.

If you would like to learn more about sharks, we can come to your school, club or workplace either in person or online to teach you more about these majestic creatures and the world that they inhabit. Contact us for more information.



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