The few bite marks on the bodies indicate
The article Orcas vs. great white sharks: In a battle of apex predators, who wins? by Lauren Smith, is about the mystery of several dead great white sharks that washed up in South Africa’s Western Cape Province. The sharks were found with minimal damage to their carcass, but in all of the sharks, three females and two males, the liver was missing. Sightings and the few bite marks on the bodies indicate that an orca was responsible, but why? To answer this question, scientists looked at the properties of a shark’s liver. They discovered that a shark liver contains more nutrients and energy than whale blubber, an orca’s main diet, so it’s no wonder that the orca started to eat sharks. But one question still remains. How did the orca get close enough to the fearsome great white shark to kill it and neatly slice it open to get at its liver, without damaging the shark when it would most likely put up a fight? The answer is very intriguing. “During a 1997 encounter off the Farallon Islands off the coast of San Francisco, a group of whale watchers witnessed an orca ramming into the side of a great white shark. The impact momentarily stunned the shark, allowing the orca to flip it over and holding it in place (belly up) for around 15 minutes. After this wait, the orca began consuming its prey, much to the surprise of the whale watchers on board. A similar incident was captured on film off Costa Rica in 2014.” The orcas were exploiting a little-known phenomenon called “tonic immobility.” This paralysis can be fatal to sharks, because the way they breathe is by moving through the water to filter out oxygen with their gills. The orcas are essentially drowning the sharks to get at their livers. This article stuck out to me because I love learning about marine wildlife. When I saw that great white sharks and orcas were going head to head, I was very interested. This article relates to science because it proves evolution is real. The orcas found a new food source that is easier to obtain than whale blubber. The sharks are also adapting to avoid orcas for fear of being eaten. It is important that people are reporting on this topic because once again, it shows that evolution is real, and that in turn proves that all humans are related to each other. I hope that someday, people will look back and think, “wow. There was a time when orcas didn’t eat sharks?” Yes, people of the future, there was.