Marine biologists have discovered a huge great white shark they call it the “queen of the ocean” off the coast of Nova Scotia.
The battle-scarred shark (Carcharodon carcharias) is 17 feet (5 meters) long and weighs 3,541 pounds (1,606 kilograms). He’s probably 50 years old, scientists from the non-profit organization OCEARCH that monitors marine animals said.
“When you look at all the healed scars and blemishes and the things that are on his skin, you are really looking at his life story, and you really feel insignificant,” OCEARCH expedition leader Chris Fischer said in a video posted on Facebook Saturday (October 3rd).
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The researchers dubbed the Nukumi shark (pronounced “noo-goo-mee”), in honor of a legendary wise grandmother of the Mi’kmaq Native American people, whose ancestral lands include Nova Scotia.
Expedition scientists also released a file short video of the shark be equipped with tracking labels and have a blood draw aboard the research vessel M / V OCEARCH Researchers are on a month-long expedition near the coast of Nova Scotia to tag great whites and take biological samples to better understand the health of the shark population and migrations across the North Atlantic. As of Monday (October 2), the expedition had tagged nine female great white sharks, NBC News reported.
Great white sharks can live up to 70 years. Nukumi likely had her first litter 30 years ago, Fischer said, making her at least a grandmother by now. She probably reproduced about 15 times in her life, she said in another video published on the OCEARCH Facebook page; this means that he could have had up to 100 children in his life. (The reproduction of the great white shark is still very mysterious, but the pregnant females of as many as 14 puppies have been registered.)
“She would be a true matriarch of the ocean, a grandmother of sharks,” Fischer said.
Marine biologists will compare Nukumi’s blood chemistry with samples from younger and smaller adults, Fischer said. They also had the option of using a portable ultrasound to obtain images of the shark matriarch’s organs. It’s rare to have the opportunity to study such an old and large shark, Fischer said.
Nukumi’s size places her among the greatest great whites ever recorded. Most female great whites are 15 to 16 feet (4.6 to 4.9 m) long, according to National Geographic, but individuals like the famous “Deep Blue” can reach nearly 20 feet (6m).
Originally published in Live Science.