Boing Boing 

WATCH: Sharks' shoreline feeding frenzy on school of fish

Fisherman Donnie Griggs captured the scene at North Carolina's Cape Lookout National Seashore. Below is a similar frenzy in the Bahamas.

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Massive whale shark lashed to truck

Dead-whale-shark

A fisher in China's Fujian province hauling home his catch of the day, a giant whale shark that reportedly weighed two tons and was 16 feet long.

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Stunning great white shark footage

Absolutely breathtaking great white shark footage captured by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution researchers using their SharkCam underwater drone near Mexico's Guadalupe Island.

REMUS SharkCam is a specially outfitted REMUS-100 autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) equipped with video cameras and navigational and scientific instrumentation that enable it to locate, track, and film up close a tagged marine animal, such as a North Atlantic white shark (great white). The vehicle is pre-programmed to home in on a signal from a transponder beacon attached to the animal at depths up to 100 meters (330 feet) and in a variety of patterns and configurations.

Seeking: "Colossal cannibal great white shark"

Australian scientists are seeking a "mystery sea monster" that likely swallowed a 9-foot great white shark. Most likely, it was an even bigger great white shark, specifically a 2-ton "colossal cannibal great white shark."

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GoPro captures scary meeting between diver and shark

Scuba diver Jason Dmitri's encounter with a shark was caught on film, but he bears no grudge for the beast that tried to get a piece of him.

"The shark was acting in his natural environment," Dmitri wrote on his YouTube page. "I have no ill will toward him and will get back in the water and continue to protect the reef for future generations."

Diver wearing GoPro camera comes face-to-face with shark [Metro via Gawker]

Support marine conservation research and join a shark tagging expedition


A participant helps tag a blacktip shark.


David Shiffman

Marine Biologist, blogger, and science-tweeter David Shiffman sends word to Boing Boing readers of a wonderful opportunity to support shark research, and have a close encounter of your own with these beautiful creatures:

Have you always wanted to be a marine biologist? Have you been fascinated by sharks since you were young? For me, the answer to both questions is yes...and I'm currently living my childhood dream! I'd like to invite you to join me for a day of shark research with my lab, the University of Miami's RJ Dunlap Marine Conservation Program (SharkTagging.com and Facebook.com/SharkTagging). I'm participating in the 4th SciFund Challenge (SciFundChallenge.org), a crowd-funding event for scientific research.

The reward for a $400 donation to my project is a day on our lab's shark research boat!

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X-ray of a hammerhead shark

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.

New hammerhead shark discovered

Sneaky fellow looks just like the other ones. [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]

How dangerous is it to swim from Cuba to Florida without a protective shark cage?

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.)

Shark inside shark's mouth

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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."

Shark-centric "Ask Me Anything" on Reddit tomorrow!

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.

What's inside the stomach of a mako shark?

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.

Video Link

Some real math on the real risk of shark attacks


Great white shark. © Oceana/David Stephens.

Shark attack stats: "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?

[Oceana.org]

Unnecessary shark attack safety advice

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.

The real scoop on the biggest shark that ever lived

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.

Even the most adorable parts of nature can mess you up

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.

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Fisherman cuts self out of shark, Sharknado-style

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:

"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".

First reported by 3AW, a radio station in Australia, the fisherman isn't named. But show host Ross Stevenson declared it their "photo of the year" on the spot. [via Gawker]

A marine biologist's guide to determining whether floodwaters really are shark-infested

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.

Missing shark found in South Dakota

"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 Hut in Box Elder." [Rapid City Journal via Brendan Koerner]

Why do shark embryos eat one another?

Tia Ghose: "[they] cannibalize their littermates in the womb, with the largest embryo eating all but one of its siblings. Now, researchers know why."

The shark that only wants a single bite

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.

10 possibly romantic facts about shark reproduction

Warning: Story includes photos of a male shark's genitalia.

Shopping mall shark-tank ruptures


Shanghai's Orient shopping centre experienced disaster on Dec 18 when a huge aquarium filled with lemon-sharks, turtles and fish ruptured, hurting 16 people and killing three sharks and "dozens of turtles and small fish." The tank's failure was blamed on a combination of cold temperatures and substandard materials.

Aquarium bursts in shopping centre in Shanghai (via JWZ)

Cow Week: Bull gores man, follows him until certain he is dead

Editorial note — Cow Week is a tongue-in-cheek look at risk analysis and why we fear the things we fear. It is inspired by the Discovery Channel's Shark Week, the popularity of which is largely driven by the public's fascination with and fear of sharks. Turns out, cows kill more people every year than sharks do. Each day, I will post about a cow-related death, and add to it some information about the bigger picture.

Some cow-related deaths are accidental, or at least understandable. When humans and animals live and work in close proximity, it's not surprising that humans sometimes do things that startle or scare the animals. And when 500-pound animals are scared, bad things can happen.

Other times, though, it really seems like the cows are out to get us. Take this story, related in the July 31st issue of The Times of India. Bhoop Narayan Prajapati, a 65-year-old resident of Deori Township in the Sagar district of Madhya Pradesh, was gored by a bull and later died of his wounds. But, the death turns out to be the culmination of a months-long feud between Prajapati and the bull, centered around Prajapati's attempts to get the bull to stop sitting in front of the door to his house.

Prajapati threw a cup of hot water at the bull one morning. The next day, the bull came back and gored him. But that wasn't quite enough.

Much to people's surprise, the bull reached the hospital following Prajapati. Deepak Chourasia, a town-dweller, said that when the mortal remains of the old man were being consigned to flames the bull again sprang a surprise by arriving at the crematorium.

There is a minor history between Prajapati and the bull. Six month ago, the bull had attacked the old man after he hit the animal with a stick. Prajapati was at that time admitted to a hospital where he stayed for more than a month due to leg injury, Deori police station inspector R P Sharma told TOI.

Yesterday, I told you about how cows kill more people every year than sharks, even though sharks are (by far) the more-feared species. Today, let's look at this from the shark's perspective. Turns out, sharks are actually threatened ... by us. Yes, they have pointy teeth, but we have harpoons and nets.

In a 2010 article for Our Amazing Planet, Charles Q. Choi reported that as many as 1/3 of all shark and ray species in the world are at risk of dying out. Most of the deaths are accidental. Sharks can simply end up caught in nets meant for other animals. But there's also a thriving trade in shark fins and plenty of money to be made in allowing fishermen to hunt sharks for sport. Overall, humans intentionally kill upwards of 73 million sharks a year, according to a 2009 New York Times editorial.

READ MORE
Read the rest of the Times of India cow death story
Read Charles Q. Choi's piece on the risk of shark extinction
Read the New York Times editorial on the death of sharks
Read a 2007 interview with Jean-Michel Cousteau on the threat to sharks and how to save them.

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Cow Kills Irish Pensioner

Cow-related death story via Alston D'Silva

Image: Cows, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from jelles's photostream

Shark cartilage may contain toxin linked to Alzheimer's, ALS

If the cruelty involved in obtaining it isn't reason enough: Shark cartilage, a supplement hyped for purported use as a cancer preventive, joint-health aid, and other unsubstantiated health claims, "may contain a neurotoxin that has been linked with Alzheimer’s and Lou Gehrig’s disease."

Hybrid sharks in the south Pacific

The Australian blacktip shark lives in tropical waters. The common blacktip shark prefers its water subtropical and temperate. Because of the difference in habitat, these two animals have become separate subspecies with distinct physical differences.

However, there are some places where their habitats overlap. And here, along the eastern coast of Australia, there is interspecies nookie. And hybrid baby sharks.

Now, none of that is particularly shocking. Hybrid zones, where the habitats of two genetically compatible species overlap, aren't ridiculously common, but scientists have documented quite a few. What makes this finding interesting is that the two species and their hybrid have been genetically documented. Hybrid zones can be fuzzy places. What happens there calls into question how sure we can be that that what we call species really are all that different from one another.

What makes this study interesting is that researchers actually performed genetic testing on sharks caught in the hybrid zone. They found distinct genetic differences between the blacktip and Australian blacktip sharks, especially in their mitochondrial DNA. And the hybrids were identified based on genetics as well. That's something that's a lot more rare in the study of wild hybrids. The information gathered here could end up having a lot to teach us about how evolution happens and what speciation really means.

Via Mo Costandi

A vote for Shiffman is a vote for sharks (in a good way)

College student bloggers from across the United States are currently competing to win a $10,000 scholarship. You can vote for the winner. And you should consider voting for David Shiffman, one of the ocean science bloggers who writes for Southern Fried Science. If he wins, he has pledged to adopt a satellite-tagged shark in the name of his blog's readers, hold a contest to name said shark, and provide regular blog updates about what the shark is up to. My suggestion: Vote Shiffman, because sharks are awesome.

Shark found dead in woods

Police in Milton, New Hampshire, found the carcass of a shark in woods more than an hour's drive from the sea.

Officers from the Milton police and New Hampshire Fish and Game were called, and after their investigation, decided to leave the shark where it was dumped and let nature take its course.

The mystery of Jabberjaw, who has not been seen since 1979, may finally be solved.

Milton police find shark in woods [WMUR]

Hand-feeding a great white shark

This fearless lady pets a Great White like a dog as she hand-feeds it fish. [Video link: National Geographic via Metafilter]

Seal's shark bite healed with honey

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The folks at the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, California do the work of heroes. Whenever a seal, sea lion, dolphin gets in trouble, the dedicated team of full-timers and volunteers head out and try to help. They heal and return to the wild a huge number of these wonderful animals. My family has been members for years and the hospital is a favorite place for my young daughter to visit. Today they released an awesome story of success: They used honey as an antibiotic to heal a shark bite wound on an elephant seal.
"Honey has gained recent popularity in both human and veterinary medicine as a wound treatment due largely to its natural healing properties. It has a very high sugar content and as a result binds water molecules strongly. That makes the water unavailable to organisms trying to make a living in the area. This is why honey can be safely stored on the shelf without refrigeration. Honey also contains a variety of compounds that may enhance the tissue response to infection and inflammation. It's less expensive than most topical antibiotic ointments and evidence suggests it is just as effective. So the Center's staff and volunteers cleaned the wound and applied a generous layer of honey to it. Thanks to both the honey and the tincture of time, Gupta's wounds healed very quickly. In fact, he was released on October 25 at Chimney Rock, Point Reyes National Shore, California."
"Gupta: Sweet As Can Bee!"