Did a dead sand tiger shark wash up on the beach in Galveston, Texas, in April 2021?

Thursday, April 29, 2021
By Christiana Dillard

A social media post with two photos of a beached shark -- its mouth gaping open to show rows of sharp teeth -- implied the shark was found on a Galveston, Texas, beach. In fact, such a shark did wash up on a North Carolina beach in mid-April 2021 -- but not in Galveston.

The pictures in the post are identical to those found in coverage about a shark that was spotted in North Topsail Beach, North Carolina. WNCT featured the pictures in its Coastal Report, attributing the photos to a beachgoer who spotted the shark on the beach.

Lauren Novack, office coordinator of coastal zone management in Galveston, told Lead Stories that the pictured shark "definitely wasn't here," and that no whales or sharks had washed ashore on Galveston beaches in the past year.

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Lead Stories is a fact checking and debunking website at the intersection of big data and journalism that launched in 2015. It scouts for trending stories, images, videos and posts that contain false information in order to fact check them as quickly as possible. It actively monitors the fake-news ecosystem and doesn’t wait for reader tips or reports before getting started on a story.