Newborn Great White Shark Spotted In First-Ever Ultra-Rare Sighting

By maks in News On 30th January 2024

Adding to this excitement, there's been a groundbreaking sighting in the world of marine biology.

Off the coast of Santa Barbara, California, a newborn great white shark has been observed for the first time.

The remarkable drone footage that captured this event was only released recently, although it was recorded on July 9, 2023.


This juvenile great white shark, measuring about 1.5 meters (5 feet) in length, was found swimming alarmingly close to the shoreline - just 400 meters (around 1,300 feet) off the coast near Carpinteria, California.

The rare sighting was made by wildlife filmmaker Carlos Gauna and Phillip Sternes, a doctoral student at the University of California, Riverside.

Their discovery was both startling and exhilarating.

Credit: Youtube / TheMalibuArtist
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Gauna and Sternes were capturing aerial videos and images on a beautiful summer day when they unexpectedly encountered the young shark.

They were initially taken aback by its atypical appearance.

The newborn shark's coloring and size were not what one would expect from a great white.

A newborn great white shark has been captured in remarkable footage. Credit: SWNS
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Great white sharks are usually characterized by their distinct grey and white coloring - grey on the top and white underneath.

However, this particular shark stood out with its completely white coloring.

On closer examination of the videos and images, Gauna and Sternes noticed a thin, white film shedding from the shark as it moved through the ocean.

In a press release, Sternes revealed their findings:

"We enlarged the images, put them in slow motion, and realized the white layer was being shed from the body as it was swimming. I believe it was a newborn white shark shedding its embryonic layer."


The duo has since shared their findings from the drone footage in the 'Environmental Biology of Fishes'.

In an interview with Gizmodo, Gauna highlighted the significance of this discovery:

"Capturing the actual birth is the holy grail of shark science. What I filmed is simply a clue that gets us closer to it."

Witnessing baby sharks is incredibly rare. Credit: Getty Stock Image

He further explained the importance of this discovery: "The piece of the puzzle this footage provides does have the potential to change the direction of where we should be looking and maybe even bigger implications for what areas should be protected."

If their assessment is accurate, this event marks the first time a newborn great white shark has ever been observed in its natural habitat.


"Where white sharks give birth is one of the holy grails of shark science. No one has ever been able to pinpoint where they are born, nor has anyone seen a newborn baby shark alive," Gauna added in the news release.


While the study considers the possibility that the shark's unusual coloration could be due to an unknown skin condition, Gauna and Sternes believe the most likely explanation is that the shark was indeed a newborn.

This revelation adds a significant piece to the puzzle in the understanding of great white shark biology.