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Researchers found the body of a 25-foot-long shark, and it’s grim but strangely beautiful

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Last week, the Marine Strandings Network was called in to investigate a dead shark in Cornwall, England. What MSN found was not just any shark: it was the fully intact floating carcass of a 25-foot-long basking shark.

Photographer Matthew Facey also visited the sight to photograph the shark.

“My initial thought from a distance was it looked like a great white, but I’ve never heard of one washing up here,” he said. “When we took a closer look he had no teeth, so it was clear he was a basking shark, quite common in Cornwall, and a gentle giant.”

The 25 foot long basking shark washed up on the coast of Cornwall.

The 25 foot long basking shark washed up on the coast of Cornwall.

Over the next few days, volunteers were assembled and the proper organizations were alerted to prepare for the examination that took place yesterday.

“Nearly 8 meters long, and over 3 meters in girth, this male shark was in a significant stage of decomposition but never the less useful samples were taken for various research organisations and NGOs,” said MSN in a Facebook post.

The cause of the shark’s death is still unknown, but it’s hoped that the results of the investigation will shed some light on how he lived and died. MSN pointed out the upside of the situation, too: “From a sad event comes something positive as we can use these rare opportunities to learn so much more about these breathtaking creatures in our sea.”

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