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July 2019    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 34, No. 7   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Are Great Whites the Oceanís Most Fearsome Predators? New Findings Say No

from the July, 2019 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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Great white sharks, long considered the sea's most bloodthirsty killers, are actually cream puffs compared with killer whales. A study in Nature Scientific Reports took the first comprehensive look at the rarely seen, sometimes violent, encounters between two of the world's largest ocean carnivores and found that great whites run like scaredy-cats whenever killer whales show up at their feeding grounds at the Farallon Islands, near San Francisco.

"What we saw was that when orcas came close to the island during shark season, all of the sharks would take off," said Salvador Jorgensen, a Monterey Bay Aquarium researcher and the study's lead author. "As a predator that has been successful for millions of years, that may be the card white sharks know how to play that has kept them alive so long -- knowing when to fold."...


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