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Sharks are often maligned as coldblooded killing machines. But considering the fact that they are indeed coldblooded and spend their lives killing and devouring things with their rows of razor-sharp teeth, we struggle to sympathize. Perhaps an old adage usually applied to humans will help us get a better understanding of these aquatic apex predators: “You are what you eat.” If this idiom holds true for sharks, then they are just about anything and everything. Just look at the crazy things people have found inside these guys over the years!
5 A Medieval Medallion
A finely carved (though badly worn) Portuguese medallion dating from the late 13th or early 14th century turned up halfway around the world … inside a shark! A fisherman in Malaysia caught a small shark and brought it home for dinner one night. When his wife began to prepare the evening’s meal, fileting and gutting the shark, she found the valuable disc within its belly. The medallion had likely sat on the sea floor for hundreds of years before being accidentally gobbled up by the young shark.
4 A Dolphin
Marine biologists in Florida recently found the remains of a 7-foot dolphin in the belly of a 9-foot tiger shark. Dolphins are rarely prey for sharks, as they are well equipped to fight back and usually travel in numbers. That means this was either a case of scavenging on the shark’s behalf, or else it was an extremely hungry, extremely badass tiger shark.
3 A Cannon Ball
In the year 1823, a group of fisherman in the West Indies were carving up a shark they caught when they found a cannon ball lodged in the creature’s stomach. For a time no one could figure out how such a thing could have happened, until finally it was surmised that the heavy iron ball must have been attached to a person to make them sink. The shark ate the drowned victim, deadweight and all.
2 A Reindeer
The Greenland shark looks like something carved out of rough granite: They’re gray and craggy and, frankly, ugly. They also live up to two centuries and grow more than 20 feet long. Oh, and also they have been known to eat polar bears. And swallow reindeer whole. That’s right, at least one of these fearsome fish of the north ate Rudolph – antlers, hoofs, and all.
1 A Knight Wearing a Suit of Armor
We lead off with both the most lurid and most dubious account of something crazy found within the belly of a shark. Apparently, as reported by a 16th century French naturalist named Guillaume Rondelet, the partial remains of a knight still wearing much of his armor were found within the belly of a great white shark. Rondelet was a respected man of science and letters in his day, with a focus on aquatic life, so we’re going to take him at his word and move on.