Shark

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The tail of a thresher shark (Alopias vulpinus). From Wikipedia. Thanks to sensational documentaries and summer blockbusters, we are all familiar with the anatomy of a shark attack. The victim, unaware that they are in peril, is struck from below and behind with such speed and violence that, if they are not actually killed during…

The jaws of C. megalodon as restored by Bashford Dean for the AMNH in 1909. Image from the American Museum Journal. My early elementary reading school choices often got me into trouble. Every week I would pass over the recommended, grade-appropriate sections for the few shelves containing the books about dinosaurs, sharks, and alligators –…

A jar full of dogfish, photographed at the New Jersey State Museum.

A photograph and line drawing (left side) of the fossil dolphin Astadelphis gastaldii. The crescent-shaped line in the line drawing represents the bite of a large shark, with the red portions representing damage done directly to the bone. From Bianucci et al, 2010. Shark attacks are events of speed and violence. When they have locked…

A restoration of the giant, durophagous shark Ptychodus, courtesy paleo-artist Matt Celeskey. The study of prehistoric sharks is no easy task. Specialists in other branches of vertebrate paleontology at least have the reasonable hope of discovering complete skeletons of their subjects; except in instances of exceptional preservation the scientists who study sharks typically only have…

Laelaps Movie of the Week: Jaws 3-D

During the 1990’s I can scarcely remember a time when one television station or another wasn’t playing at least one of the four JAWS movies, TBS, TNT, or WPIX often devoting an entire day to films about killer oceanic creatures. Still, of the four films JAWS 3 (or 3-D, if you like) was one of…