MANHATTAN BEACH (CBSLA.com) — Many southern Californians are already familiar with the photo of what appears to be a possible Great White shark swimming feet away from the photographer’s family — but a number of experts now argue that the animal may not be a shark after all.
The photo, taken by June Emerson on Manhattan Beach, reveals a large marine animal swimming through a swell near Emerson’s twins. Almost immediately, marine experts began debating as to what the animal was.
A number of professionals passed the animal off as a dolphin, while others claimed certain that it was a juvenile Great White shark.
“The great thing about science is it’s always great for us to disagree,” Aquarium of the Pacific marine biologist Dave Bader said. “And, you know, it’s hard to always be absolutely certain. Certainly from that picture, if you look at it from a distance, it looks like it’s either one.”
Sharks have a pair of triangle dorsal fins and a vertical tail, according to Bader. The photo appears to show an animal with one dorsal fin.
The in-conclusion of the animal stems greatly from the photo’s distortion, as a result of a curvature of the water.
Emerson’s daughter, meanwhile, claims that she saw pods of dolphins in the area shortly before the photo was taken.
However, further investigation continues, as the family ponders just how much danger the twins may have been in.
“A White shark of that size is hunting fish, small fish, in the same areas that dolphin are,” Bader said. “And in places like Manhattan Beach, coastal beach zones, are places where dolphin and shark can both find food.”