Last week, scientists described a new species of hammerhead shark, the Carolina hammerhead. Though slightly smaller than the scalloped hammerhead species it was previously thought to be a part of, the Carolina hammerhead was ID'd as something different with the help of DNA samples, not visual descriptions. This, courtesy shark blogger David Shiffman, is the Carolina hammerhead's head, in beautiful x-ray vision.
Sneaky fellow looks just like the other ones
. [Atlanta Journal-Constitution] — Rob
At Slate, shark scientist and blogger David Shiffman breaks down the risks that swimmer Diana Nyad was really taking this week when she swam from Cuba to Florida
without a shark cage. The mere phrase "without a shark cage" makes this sound like a huge risk
, Shiffman writes. But the historic swim, itself, is the real achievement. The sharks weren't actually that big of a danger. (BONUS: An explanation of how, exactly, one is supposed to swim long distances inside a shark cage, to begin with.) — Maggie
Researchers from the University of Delaware snapped this fantastic photo of a dogfish swallowed by a sand tiger shark. The scientists were in the Delaware Bay seeking tagged sharks to better understand their behavior.
"This unlucky smooth dogfish couldn't resist the menhaden used as bait and, unfortunately, fell victim to one of the top predators in the bay," according to a posting by the University's Ocean Exploration, Remote Sensing, Biogeography (ORB) Lab. "The dogfish was about 3 feet (1 meter) long and completely swallowed by the sand tiger shark."
David Shiffman, a fantastic scientist and ocean blogger, has spent the past week correcting the errors of Discovery's increasingly misleading Shark Week
programming. Tomorrow, at noon eastern, he'll be on Reddit for a shark-centric round of "Ask Me Anything"
. Got shark questions? David Shiffman will have sharp answers. — Maggie
Psst, hey kid. You wanna see some clips from the dissection of one of the largest mako sharks ever caught? Sure you do.
This NOAA video has amazing footage of the shark's stomach — so big it fills a tall Rubbermaid tub — and the even more amazing footage of scientists lifting an almost completely intact sea lion head out said shark's stomach.
What's the benefit? Studying the stuff in a shark's stomach helps us understand how different species are interrelated — which helps scientists figure out how to better manage the conservation of whole ecosystems. Essentially, write the good folks at Smithsonian.com, this is an example of scientists making valuable use out of a not-exactly-ideal situation. The shark was legally caught and killed by fishermen filming a scene for a reality TV show.
Shark attack stats
Great white shark. © Oceana/David Stephens.
: "The real threat is humans. For every one human killed by a shark, there are approximately 25 million sharks killed by humans."
About 200 million people go to U.S. beaches each year. About 36 of those hundreds of millions are attacked by sharks. Most of them survive. In contrast, more than 30,000 of those millions of beach-goers are to be rescued from surfing accidents. And many of those humans each year die, or must be rescued, from drowning incidents in which no other creature is to blame.
So, will we see Human Week, or Human-nado mockumentaries any time soon?
Your chances of being killed by a shark are 1 in 3.8 million. But, you know, just in case
, here's what you do to survive a shark attack
. — Maggie
Megalodon is dead, to begin with. (Not that you'd know that from watching the Discovery Channel's recent intentionally fake, but presented as factual, documentary on the subject.) But the extinct giant shark — 3x the length of a Great White and 10x the mass — is still pretty damn fascinating. Check out this actually factual treatment of the biggest shark that ever lived
at The Contemplative Mammoth blog. — Maggie
This Shark Week, the seals of the world would like to take a moment to remind you that appearance isn't everything. Scary-looking creatures might not actually be that much of a threat to you. Adorable ones are not necessarily as cuddly as they let on.
Read the rest
A fisherman from Victoria, Australia, climbed inside the shark he had captured, poked an arm through its lifeless gills, and staged this incredible shot for posterity. From Perth Now:
First reported by 3AW, a radio station in Australia
"An American couple have turned up at the Metung Hotel to see this photo and their immediate response from the wife was 'Did he survive!?'." The fisherman was standing right behind her at the time. Presumably, his answer was "yes".
, the fisherman isn't named. But show host Ross Stevenson declared it their "photo of the year" on the spot. [via Gawker
This is an older piece, but given that we're into hurricane season, I expect it will come up again. How do you tell if the photo you've been forwarded, showing sharks swimming through flooded urban landscapes, is real or fake? Marine biologist (and shark expert) David Shiffman has a simple 5-step process. In fact, it's so simple that I'm sure many of you will already be familiar with these tricks. But, here's the thing, it's helpful to be reminded that the tricks are necessary. They're very easy to forget when a hurricane is crashing into shore and social media is blowing up. Besides which, this will make a handy link to forward to friends and family passing questionable photos of all sorts.
"Rapid City police said an anonymous tip lead them to the 12-foot shark that was found in an open field next to the old Pizza Hu
t in Box Elder." [Rapid City Journal via Brendan Koerner
] — Rob
Tia Ghose: "[they] cannibalize their littermates in the womb, with the largest embryo eating all but one of its siblings. Now, researchers know why
." — Rob
The cookiecutter shark is one of those animals that kind of makes you believe nature just likes to mess with us. Instead of killing the things it eats, a cookiecutter shark just takes a bite — leaving a neat, tidy hemispherical divot. As marine biologist Yannis Papastamatiou told reporter Douglas Main, it would be more accurate to call the cookiecutter an "ice cream scoop shark". Despite only being about 20 inches long, the cookiecutter shark will try its luck on a wide variety of prey, including animals much larger than itself. It's been known to bite great white sharks, for instance.
And there is one report of a cookiecutter biting a human
, although that risk is probably not something you should bother losing sleep over. — Maggie