Experts are shocked to discover several frozen sharks washed up on US coastline
It pretty much goes without saying that a lot of weird stuff happened in 2017. There was the whole Human Ken Doll saga (which, no doubt, will continue on into 2018), a whole bunch of alien incidents, and that one story about a model who nearly lost her vision after deciding to tattoo her eyeball.
Well, that weirdness didn't die down towards the end of the year. If anything, it actually stepped up a level.
On the 29th December, the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy posted on Facebook to say that they had discovered a number of frozen sharks washed up in Brewster, Massachusetts. And they weren't exaggerating, either.
Pictures from the conservation organization showed one thresher shark that had been affected so severely by the cold that it was too solid to dissect. It was described as "a male at around 14ft in length," that was "too frozen to attempt a necropsy." The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy explained that they "hauled the shark off the beach and it is currently thawing at NOAA Fisheries Service to be dissected later," adding that the specimen was, "a true sharkcicle!"
This was actually the third thresher shark to wash up in the space of a week, which was surprising to many people - especially to those who didn't even know the species could be found in the area.
"Wow! Is it common for thresher sharks to be in the area right now?" wrote one commenter. "I have never even heard of them being around the cape before."
The conservancy replied that thresher sharks "are a common species [in Brewster] but offshore. These sharks were mostly [sic] likely moving to the south with the warmer water and got caught in the hook of Cape Cod."
Unfortunately, due to the weather conditions around this time of year, some sharks do end up getting swept off course, and the team in Massachusetts do their best to rescue those that have been swept onto the shore.
In a response to people asking what they can do to help out their efforts, the team said:
"Thank you to everyone who has reached out asking how they can help. Simply put, we need the right equipment to keep the sharks and us safe. Shark strandings are difficult but always rewarding, whether we are responding to a deceased or living shark. While we sum it up in a few pictures, the team spent 4 hours in the elements yesterday collecting pounds if tissue that will be used to better understand these events."
Temperatures in the area are at a record-breaking low at the moment, so it's no surprise that incidents like this are occurring. Due to climate change and other environmental factors, the temperature in Cape Cod is predicted to drop to around -12C (10.4F) in the next couple of days, and those conditions just aren't habitable for thresher sharks.
Though we might often consider sharks to be dangerous and vicious, we must also remember that they are vulnerable.