This photo is going viral after a Marine biologist investigating why a great white shark washed up on a CA beach had a friend pose next to the carcass and people weren't happy.
Giancarlo Thomae said that he immediately snapped a photo of the shark, found in Aptos, California using his friend to show the scale of the shark while they awaited their colleagues to bring them more research equipment.
“We got down there because the tide was running in,” Thomae said, adding he was concerned about the shark’s body washing out to sea before it could be properly investigated.
Thomae wasn't entirely prepared for a backlash on social media once the local TV station posted the photo on their Facebook page in which followers were calling the photo very disrespectful.
"This could not be more messed up ... A dead shark is not a photo op,” wrote one person.
“This was once a living being and it's just ok to lay next to it smiling? This is appalling aaaannnnnd i'm angry. Justice needs to be had,” read another comment.
“That photo is just creepy and disrespectful,” wrote one person. "Taking selfies really? Have some Effing RESPECT! Don't care if she's a 'scientist' it's tasteless," read another comment.
Thomae responded saying that the photo wasn't intended to be disrespectful and that he was only trying to show the scale of the animal.
“As a biologist and a nature-lover, it makes me happy that people care so much about wildlife,” Thomae said. “I’m sorry if my photo offended anyone, but we just needed scale for reference.”
Thomae and his crew were able to move the animal which measured about 8 feet-9inches and weight approximately 500-punds.
Upon initial observation, the shark had several scars and more recent wounds from encounters with sea lions, but Thomae and his crew do not think that is what contributed to its death.
“This was a big, healthy shark,” he said. “Those were like cat scratches.”