A huge shark seen on video sneaking 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 the Woods Hole section of Falmouth.
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 been more than 80 feet long.
So, was that a real megalodon spotted off New England’s coast in 2021?
No, the shark seen in the viral TikTok video has been recognized as a harmless, but still enormous, the basking shark.
Basking sharks are the second-largest species of their 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.”