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Basking shark washes ashore at Misquamicut Beach

Published April 29. 2013 4:00AM   Updated April 29. 2013 9:22AM

Jeff Henry takes a photo of his son, Joel Henry, 9, as they look at the body of a 28½-foot male basking shark weighing several tons that washed up on Misquamicut Beach in Westerly Sunday morning. Throughout the day the shark attracted curious onlookers who took photos and touched it. A Misquamicut homeowner called police, who contacted the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, which in turn asked Mystic Aquarium to investigate. An aquarium staff member said the Northeast Fisheries Science Center is expected to perform a necropsy. While their body shape and size resemble those of great white sharks, basking sharks are harmless to humans and can be differentiated by their massive jaws and gill slits. They feed by filtering water to catch zooplankton, small fish and invertebrates.

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