A deceased, juvenile female great white shark washed up on Cryder Beach in Southampton.
The fully intact juvenile — though some may consider it a baby because of its size — was 6.9 feet in length and weighed about 175 pounds. Great whites are born at about four feet long.
While unfortunate, of course, the find was beneficial to Greg Metzger, a marine biologist and Southampton High School teacher who founded the South Fork Natural History Museum’s Shark Research and Education Program.
“The scientific shark community has very few opportunities to perform necropsies on white sharks as we just don’t get many. Most, in my limited experience, have been very decomposed. This one was almost pristine,” he said, noting the internal organs are in excellent condition so scientists studying them can get “an excellent idea of what a live one may look like. This was a very significant individual for the understanding of white shark’s biology.”
Whenever he is alerted to a shark on the beach, he is in touch with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration.
A pathologist conducted a necropsy. Metzger said as of now there is no indication why it died.
His work has focused on this age class of shark for the last five years.
“We have confirmed that Long Island is a nursery for white sharks,” Metzger said. “So, these little ones are found in our waters based on our research from mid-April to the end of October.”
Parts of the shark are being used for his education program, and Metzger shipped samples to scientists elsewhere for analysis.