A massive shark seen on video lurking around a tall ship off the coast of Massachusetts has social media in an uproar.
The prehistoric-sized shark was filmed swimming slowly alongside a ship full of research students as they all screamed and gawked in awe.
Alex Albrecht, a marine biodiversity student and musician, captured the sighting from the mast of the SSV Corwith Cramer just over 100 miles off the coast of Wools Hole, Massachusetts.
The now-viral video has been viewed more than 37 million times [note: the video has explicit language] since Albrecht posted it Tuesday on TikTok.
“Is that a megalodon,” one person jokingly questioned in the comments along with many others.
A megalodon is an extinct species that is believed to be the largest shark – and fish – to have ever lived. Some scientists estimate that an adult megalodon could have been more than 30 feet in length. Others contest that the species could have be more than 80 feet long.
So, was that an actual megalodon spotted off New England’s coast in 2021?
Sharks aren’t mindless killers — they are smart, social creatures that play a vital role in the ocean ecosystem. But globally, tens of millions of sharks are killed every year. LX News host Tabitha Lipkin took a swim with some sharks to teach us more about why we should care about their fate, and what we can do to help save them.
No, the shark seen in the viral TikTok video has been identified as a harmless, but still huge, basking shark.
Basking sharks are the second largest species of its kind and can grow up to 26 feet in length.
“I’m so grateful to be able to share such a wonderful creature with so many people,” Albrecht said. “I hope it makes people want to protect and conserve biodiversity in our oceans.”