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Great White Shark Stuns Scientists With Amazing Healing Powers

Researchers revealed the shark’s healing prowess in a series of photos posted on Facebook.

Scientists are marveling at photos revealing a great white shark's ability to recover from horrific wounds with remarkable speed.  The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy posted research photos last week of a shark nicknamed "Tony Hawk," showing his amazing healing powers.  Here's what you need to know about this scientific discovery.

Who Is "Tony Hawk"?


Tony Hawk is a 10.5-foot male great white shark.  He was found in the northwest Atlantic Ocean in 2018 with large chunks of flesh ripped from his gills.

Who Made the Discovery?

Atlantic White Shark Conservancy/Facebook

The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy is a nonprofit organization that supports scientific research, public safety and education to inspire the conservation of white sharks in and around Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  The group tags sharks off the coast of Massachusetts to gather acoustic detection data and to catalog more than 600 tagged and untagged individual sharks in the northwest Atlantic.

What Happened

Atlantic White Shark Conservancy/Facebook

After finding Tony Hawk with severe gill injuries, the conservancy took photos a year later to find that the injuries had healed nearly completely.  "Take a look at the incredible healing abilities of WS Tony Hawk," the group posted on Facebook on May 24. "These photos are only a little over a year apart! It's suspected that Tony Hawk received this injury from a boat strike."  The shark's wounds had all but vanished, the flesh had regrown, the wound had closed and little more than a tight scar remained, the conservancy said.

What Happened Next


Atlantic White Shark Conservancy/Facebook

The photos are the latest in the attempt by researchers to document shark healing abilities with the use of satellite tracking tags.  The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy has shared other examples of mangled dorsal fins, observing that they "zipped" up over time and "healed from the bottom-up, reconstructing the fin over time."

What's Next

four sharks swimming underwater

Research continues into the sharks' migrations. Tags show that the white sharks travel in the northwest Atlantic along the East Coast as if on an oceanic highway, the group said.  Sharks summer off New England and Nova Scotia and migrate south to the Gulf of Mexico for the winter.


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