A Shark Week team with Discovery has just posted a YouTube video of what the channel calls "the first-ever footage of a great white shark napping." The narrator doesn't put it quite so definitively, but he does note that as the team observes the female shark's behavior change as daytime shifts to night, when her jaw goes slack "she appears to be in an almost catatonic state." As she floats through the water, the Discovery narrator notes, "oxygen-rich water flows over (her) gills. It allows her to slow down and save energy for hunting during the day. But she can never stop swimming completely, or she'll sink to the bottom, suffocate, and die."
Discovery used a robotic submersible to catch the behavior of the shark as she hugs the shoreline near the ocean floor along the eastern coast of Guadalupe Island in the Pacific Ocean, reports CNET. When her jaw goes slack, Gizmodo reports, the shark "looks maybe 7% less frightening than a great white that's awake." She is, after all, still swimming; she just looks like she's on auto pilot. (Are great whites "targeting" people in this New Zealand hamlet?)