Scientists Solve Mystery of Massive Basking Shark


Some Friday nature news for you, since I know you've all been wondering where the Basking shark goes all winter. Scientists have finally solved the mystery they've been trying to crack for 50 years:

Sharks "Skomal tagged the giant fish off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts and tracked them by satellite, piecing together their mysterious winter wanderings. He discovered the beasts were absconding to the depths of the Caribbean, some voyaging as far as the Brazilian coast, though the attraction of these destinations poses yet another mystery. The findings have implications for conserving the sharks, whose fins are much-desired delicacies in Chinese cuisine. The basking shark is a benign behemoth. It swims at about three miles per hour with its four-foot-wide mouth gaping open, filtering through almost 500,000 gallons of water every hour for its plankton sustenance...He found the sharks were traveling well-outside their known range, spending months in the warm waters of the Caribbean and even deep into the southern hemisphere. They also periodically dove to more than 3,000 feet, and often stayed at those depths for months at a time. One shark remained at a depth of nearly 600 feet for upward of five months."

Makes you wonder what else is down there.

A video of Basking sharks feeding, AFTER THE JUMP...

Posted May 8, 2009 at 4:45pm ETC by Andy Towle
in Nature, News