Albatross chokes on seal shark in New Zealand

Albatross chokes on seal shark in New Zealand
Albatross chokes on seal shark in New Zealand



A museum staff member in New Zealand was shocked when he came across an albatross that appeared to have been defeated by its shark dinner.

Alan Tennyson found the unusual, and rather gruesome, sight on a beach in Wellington.

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He took it back to the Te Papa museum for closer inspection, and found that the shark was still completely whole.


Albatross chokes on seal shark in New Zealand
Albatross chokes on seal shark in New Zealand



Alan wrote a blog post about the find, which read: "In the lab we were astounded to see a shark's tail protruding from its neck. When we cut the dead bird open we found that the shark was intact and reached the entire length of the bird's body cavity! The shark was completely undigested – no doubt it had been protected by its tough, sandpaper-like skin – and we speculate that the bird choked on the fish."

Albatross vs Shark: A stomach-turning tale www.bit.ly/AlbatrossVsShark

Posted by Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa on Thursday, December 3, 2015



A seal shark has a very vicious set of teeth which it uses to take chunks out of animals as big as whales. But staff found no evidence it had eaten the albatross from the inside out.

Albatross chokes on seal shark in New Zealand
Albatross chokes on seal shark in New Zealand



The bird was a northern royal albatross, one of the world's largest seabirds.

It mainly feeds on scavenged food such as dead squid and fish floating on the surface, so, according to Alan, "as seal sharks are a deep water species, we suspect that the hungry bird gulped down the shark which it found as waste from a trawler, and thus both bird and shark met an untimely end".

Albatross chokes on seal shark in New Zealand
Albatross chokes on seal shark in New Zealand



Both specimens will now be skeletised for the museum's permanent research collections, used mainly for identifying fossil remains.




World's Oldest Tracked Bird Gives Birth...Again
World's Oldest Tracked Bird Gives Birth...Again