A recent news story and video spins a fascinating mystery. Scientists in Australia tagged a healthy 9-foot great white shark. Four months later they found the tracking device washed up on a beach. The data in the the tracking device was bizarre. It recorded a rapid temperature rise and a sudden 1,900-foot-deep plunge. The tracking device stayed there for many days, moving around and occasionally ascending to go down again until it finally reached the shore. It appears that the great white shark had been swallowed by an even larger and more fearsome predator. A video from the Smithsonian Channel:
So what did eat the great white?
Update: Apparently in this case, scientists have determined that a much larger great white shark, perhaps 16′ long or so, probably ate the 9′ great white. Thanks to Harry Millkman for the heads-up.
There is at least one other threat to great white sharks — orcas. Several years ago, the National Geographic channel ran some remarkable footage of a orcas attacking and eating great white sharks in their documentary, The Whale That Ate Jaws. Nevertheless, even for a 26′ long orca, a 9′ great white is a lot to swallow. Likewise the extended periods underwater may have been too long for an air-breathing whale. Whatever ate the shark, it is clear that the great white shark is not always at the peak of the food chain.