A Cape Cod photographer captured a picture of a frozen shark washed up on a snowy shoreline, leading social media users to speculate how it was possible for a shark to freeze.
Cape Cod is on the shoreline of Massachusetts, known for its cold winters. During the winter, the waters there get cold. On Wednesday, they clocked in at 37 degrees, according to Sea Temperature. Still, that’s not at or below freezing.
The photographer said she was told that the shark is a porbeagle shark, per USA Today. Porbeagle sharks typically live in the northern part of the Atlantic Ocean, but they can be found in other places, too. This shark, a type of mackerel shark, isn’t known for attacking humans. It’s a popular game shark, meaning that fishermen will often try to catch one.
Some social media users thought it was a great white shark — another type of mackerel shark, according to USA Today. Great white sharks do live near Cape Cod. The Cape Cod Times reported that 31 great white sharks were tagged during 2022. These sharks can come close to the shore because they hunt seals. Porbeagle sharks are generally smaller than great white sharks, which is one of several ways to identify the differences between the two.
The shark was found during an especially cold period of time in Massachusetts. Fox Weather reported that the Boston area had temperatures dip ten degrees below zero — lower temperatures than the area has seen for decades. An injury on the right side of the shark may have led to the shark’s death, but a precise cause of death is unknown.
While some may assume that the cold weather killed the shark, experts believe something different happened. NBC 10 News reported, “Many people assumed the weather had done the shark in, but experts say it likely died at sea, washed up on shore, and then froze because of the frigid weather that blasted Massachusetts on Friday and Saturday.”
Marine biologist John Chisholm “believes the shark is the same one that originally washed up a week prior on another Cape beach and resurfaced and froze due to the below freezing temperatures,” per Fox News.
Six sharks have washed up on the Cape Cod shoreline so far this year, per NBC 10 News. This shark had its fin, teeth and tail removed by the time that researchers were attempting to get a sample to study. In Massachusetts, it’s illegal to remove a shark’s fin or tail and the Massachusetts Environmental Police are the ones who would investigate this incident should it be reported to the bureau.