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Photo by: Ron Sanford

Ron Sanford

Orcas Earn Their Killer Nickname in Brutal Attacks on Sharks

By: Leah Weber

Six sharks washed up on a beach a few hours away from Cape Town, South Africa. As reported to Newsweek, these great white sharks were found dead, but the remains were meticulously torn apart. So what happened?

September 23, 2020

Over the years, bodies of meticulously killed great white sharks have washed up on the shores of South Africa, in Gansbaai. Necropsies were performed by Alison Towner and a team of marine biologists to pin down what exactly happened to these apex predators.

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Photo by: sethakan

sethakan


On a YouTube show, Towner revealed that some of the sharks on her table were missing their hearts, livers, and even testes in a "precise and refined" way. The spot on the shark where they were torn open is the perfect spot for extraction.



Ruling out all other causes of death, this team of marine biologists determined that orcas were the predator in question. And it wasn't just one orca, but likely a pod where two orcas together grabbed hold of pectoral fins, which led to the massive sharks to be "physically ripped open." This action exposed the large shark liver, as well as the other internal organs that were nutritionally valuable to the orcas in question.


Sharks rarely wash up on shore in order to be studied posthumously. Though we usually mourn the loss of sharks, this fortuitous discovery allowed Towner and her team to learn a lot about sharks and how they are hunted meticulously.



That brings us to the orcas. They are incredible animals who hunt differently depending on where they are in the world. This particular pod of "killer whales" hunts in a one-of-a-kind way. Learning about this interesting form of predation can lead to a greater understanding of the relationship between orcas and sharks in the ocean.

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