The world has been marvelling this week at the size – and awesome beauty – of a great white shark named Deep Blue.
Around 50 years old, and last seen in 2013 in Mexico, the shark resurfaced off the coast of the Hawaiian island of Oahu where a team of divers were able to swim with her and capture some of these stunning photographs.
Thought to be the biggest great white on record, Deep Blue dwarfs marine biologist Ocean Ramsey (pictured alongside her), not just in length but also in her incredible girth, which experts think means the shark is pregnant.
Ramsey describes the apparently docile Deep Blue as a “big beautiful gentle giant” and is keen to counter the malevolent image of great whites as portrayed in Steven Spielberg’s 1975 movie classic Jaws.
Nevertheless, anyone who’s seen the film will at least be intrigued to know how the real-life and fictional behemoths compare in terms of size.
We crunched the numbers…
Is Deep Blue as big as Jaws?
Because no-one in either scenario is going to try to persuade these giant sharks to jump out of the water and on to a set of scales – or get up close and personal with a tape measure – the following calculations are based on estimates. But in both cases, they are at least estimates by experts, who were just a few feet from the sharks in question…
Deep Blue is estimated by those who dived with her to be almost six metres, or 20 feet, long – about the same as the height of a giraffe or two-thirds the length of a double-decker bus.
As the great white in Jaws glides past Captain Quint’s boat, marine biologist Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) exclaims “that’s a 20-footer!”. But Quint (Robert Shaw) disagrees, upping the ante to “25! And three tons of him!”
If Quint is right, then the shark in Jaws is five feet – say, one Danny DeVito – longer than Deep Blue. No offence to Mr DeVito, but not a huge difference.
But what about weight? Quint reckons his shark weighs three tons – and in 1975 in the US a ton means 2,000 pounds (lbs). So his shark weighs 6,000 lbs, or around 2,700 kilograms.
Deep Blue, meanwhile, is estimated to weigh 2.5 metric tonnes. A metric tonne is 1,000kg, so 2.5 metric tonnes is 2,500kg.
Conclusion? There’s very little in it, especially when you’re excited and probably rounding up like Quint was.
The bottom line is that Jaws was by no means over the top when it predicted how large a great white might get, and Deep Blue is pretty much as big as that famous movie shark – and definitely a lot friendlier.