This is a basking shark, Cetorhinus maximus. Identification features include the cylindrical snout, the relatively uniform brownish color, the enormous gill slits, and the large body size. Basking sharks are the second-largest living sharks (only the whale shark is larger); Whitney measured this specimen at 24 feet, which is within the normal range for an adult basking shark. They are typically found worldwide in polar to temperate waters, but migrate to lower latitudes during the winter.
Basking sharks are filter feeders that eat invertebrates and small fish. While they appear toothless at a glance, they actually have several hundred tiny teeth (see the basking shark page under “Extant Dentitions” at elasmo.com). These teeth have been reported as fossils from all over the world in Eocene and younger deposits, including the Miocene Pungo River Formation in North Carolina (see Purdy et al., 2001); Jim Bourdon has photos of some Pungo River examples.
Here is an interesting basking shark site, including videos and photos.
Thanks to Whitney for letting us post this interesting photo.