The mysterious fish typically grow to the size of a double-decker bus. (simonjpierce.com via AP)
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It's the biggest shark – and the biggest fish – in the sea, often found roaming in warm waters around the globe with its huge mouth agape in search of dinner. Yet despite its hulking appearance, the whale shark has only tiny, almost useless teeth and is sometimes so docile that entire boatloads of people can swim alongside the enigmatic, spotted beast. In an attempt to solve some of the most enduring mysteries, a group of scientists spent several weeks diving with whale sharks in the Galapagos Islands last summer and fall. WHALE OR SHARK?While they are comparable in size to whales, whale sharks are sharks. Only one pregnant whale shark has ever been found: In 1995, a dead whale shark was found off the coast of Taiwan with 300 embryos inside, all at different stages of development.Because scientists can only afford to spend a few weeks in the Galapagos each year, they depend on photos taken by visiting divers to figure out what the whale sharks are up to.Besides blood and ultrasound tests, scientists successfully tagged seven sharks.
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