Video of a massive shark off the coast of Massachusetts has gone viral, and the researcher who shot it is recalling his experience.
The prehistoric-sized shark was filmed swimming slowly alongside a ship full of research students as they all screamed and gawked in awe.
Alex Albrecht, a marine biodiversity student and musician, captured the sighting from the mast of the SSV Corwith Cramer just over 100 miles off the coast of Woods Hole, Massachusetts.
"I first thought it was a whale," Albrecht said Friday. "Then its big tail went 'swoosh' to the side and I was like, 'Shark!'"
The now-viral video has been viewed more than 37 million times [note: the video has explicit language] since Albrecht posted it Tuesday on TikTok.
"Is that a megalodon?" one person jokingly questioned in the comments along with many others.
"Megalodon has been extinct for over 3 million years, so I knew it wasn't a megalodon," said John Chisholm of the New England Aquarium.
Chisholm is one of the state's leading shark experts. He says the one captured on video is a basking shark. It can get as big as 35 feet in length.
Megladons, by comparison, were three times that size.
Chisholm says basking sharks are often confused with great whites.
"When someone calls in and says they saw a a 25-foot, 26-foot great white, it's kind of a red flag to me that it was was most likely basking shark," he said.
Albrecht says he and classmates at SEA Semester were five weeks into their studies on the school's ship, the SSV Corwith Cramer.
"I'm really grateful I get to share that creature with so many people," he said.
Chisholm says he expects there will be more sightings this summer as people learn more about sharks. He says that's a good thing.