A photo of a shark photo bombing two young surfers at a Southern California beach over the holidays has gone viral on the internet.
The photo, taken on Dec. 27 at Southern California's Manhattan Beach, shows two 12-year-old boys in the ocean on their surf boards as a large wave crashes behind them. Upon staring at the wave, a viewer can make out the faint silhouette of what appears to be a medium-sized shark swimming through the clear green water.
June Emerson, the photographer behind the rare image and mother of one of the boys in the photo, told local media outlets that she did not notice the image of the shark or dolphin swimming through the wave until after she had left the beach and checked the photos in her car.
"I'm not sure what it was," Emerson told CBS2 of the possible shark citing, adding "but it definitely scared me when I thought it might be a shark."
Since Emerson posted the strange photo on her Facebook last week, she has been inundated by comments, with some stipulating that the mysterious shadow is a baby great white shark and others arguing the shadow is that of a harmless dolphin. "Another beautiful day at the beach," Emerson wrote on Facebook, "Big waves and apparently Big Fish! [Look into wave to right of Quinn Emerson, who's out catching a few!]– Manhattan Beach, California."
Emerson added to KTLA 5 that it was "quite a shock" to see the photo," adding, "Many local surfers and lifeguards have seen this and believe it to be a shark. Of course, I told my kids it was dolphin, as we live at the beach and are in the waters here almost daily."
According to CNN, two shark experts, including the Discovery Channel's Jeff Kurr and shark expert David Shiffman, have disagreed on whether Emerson's recent discovery is actually a shark or simply a dolphin.
"This is not a #shark photobombing kids. This is a dolphin," Shiffman, a marine biologist and recognized expert on great white sharks, tweeted Monday. Shiffman added in a Facebook post that the image is that of a dolphin and not a shark because its tail is flat.
However, Kurr told CNN that he believes the photo shows a juvenile great white shark lurking through the waters. "I would say based on the shape of the dorsal fin, which is more straight, that shows me it's a great white shark," Kurr said. "Plus, the fact that that particular beach has become the epicenter for white shark activity, I would say it's definitely a white shark."