Shark-infested horror movies like Jaws, The Shallows, Deep Blue Sea, and 47 Meters Down have already sparked fear of sharks in the public's mind, but one real-life experience by tourists on a cruise ship might continue the trend. TikTok user and musician Alex Albrecht filmed the creature from the mast of the cruise ship and captioned the video, "Sailed six weeks in the Atlantic saw this big f----g shark."
Many commenters thought the shark was a megalodon, an extinct but extremely large species of shark. Films like The Meg have brought the Megalodon to public attention, but could the extinct species have risen from the grave? Here's everything we know about the giant cruise ship shark and if it could be a megalodon.
So, was the giant shark a megalodon?
The TikTok video, which has since amassed over 39 million views, has viewers scratching their heads, wondering what kind of shark could be so large it spans the length of a cruise ship. Many commenters suggested the shark was a megalodon, which is currently extinct, but others aren't so sure.
In the video, the shark appears to be swimming slowly in a circle near the surface of the water as tourists run to the edge of the boat to see the creature. Shouts of surprise and shock are heard at increasingly high volumes in the background, with voices yelling, "Holy f–k" and "Whoa." Many aren't used to seeing such large creatures outside of places like aquariums and museums.
According to LiveScience, the megalodon was, "the largest shark ever to prowl the oceans and one of the largest fish on record. The scientific name, Carcharocles megalodon, means "giant tooth," and for good reason: Its massive teeth are almost three times larger than the teeth of a modern great white shark." Unfortunately, the megalodon has been documented as going extinct millions of years ago, possibly even before humans evolved.
Some commenters suggested that the shark wasn't a megalodon but a basking shark. Basking sharks differ from megalodons not only for their living species status but because they don't have any teeth and pose no harm to humans. Sharks.org explains that the basking shark might look terrifying because of their way of feeding, "Often seen feeding on surface aggregations of plankton, moving slowly forward with open mouth."
Commenters on the clip are proof that no matter how harmless or extinct a shark is, pop culture has certainly influenced how the public views them. Most sharks are harmless unless provoked, and perhaps this shark didn't anticipate a cruise ship wandering into its migration route.
Either way, it's safe to say that if the Megalodon returned from extinction, not only would the world know, but there would already be a movie in pre-production!