The great white shark, Carcharodon carcharias, needs to eat several times more food than scientists had previously believed, according to a new calculation published Monday in the open access journal Scientific Reports. So if you had the idea that shark attacks are on the rise, maybe the big boys are just feeding their supersized appetites.
Jayson Semmens headed up a team of Australian and British researchers who observed that the notorious great white is a fierce predator that travels the world’s oceans, making it difficult and dangerous for scientists to study how often and how much food it really eats.
A previous calculation, done on only one individual, estimated that a 943 kilogram great white shark could survive on a mere 30 kilograms of blubber from marine mammals like seals for 1-1/2 months — “a widely cited figure that has perpetuated the assumption that large sharks only need to feed every few weeks.” The team was understandably skeptical of such a strong claim on the basis of one animal in one study
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