Darwin Day - Sharks!

This afternoon, I'll be driving down to Raleigh to the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences for the special Darwin Day event organized in collaboration with the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center.

The evening will start with the sneak-peak pre-opening of the Megalodon exhibit which opens to the public tomorrow. Megalodon was the largest shark ever discovered in the fossil record and the exhibit will, apart from its massive jaws, showcase the evolution of sharks, modern sharks and the conservation issues facing these magificient fish today:

At 60 feet long, Carcharodon megalodon was the largest shark that ever lived and a dominant marine predator. Sharks are at risk today, with recent population declines attributed to humans. While the Megalodon vanished 2 million years ago, its fascinating story inspires lessons for contemporary science and shark conservation. "Megalodon: Largest Shark that Ever Lived" opens February 13 and runs through May 9, 2010.

This unique exhibit showcases both fossil and modern shark specimens, as well as full-scale models from several collections. Visitors enter a full-sized sculpture of Megalodon through massive jaws and discover this shark's history and the world it inhabited, including its physiology, diet, lifespan, relatives, neighbors, evolution and extinction.

The exhibit also provides details on how to improve the health of our oceans and survival of threatened species. Recent worldwide declines are attributed to commercial and sport overfishing. Scientists estimate that humans kill 100 million sharks, skates and rays each year, and the life history of most shark species makes it difficult for populations to rebound.

For those wondering why sharks should be saved, the exhibit asks visitors to consider the marine food-web domino effect caused by overfishing. Another section describes how this animal continues to fascinate many, elevating the Megalodon to near cult status. From biker jackets to postage stamps, the exhibition explains the many ways that the Megalodon remains a part of human culture through art, literature, music and film.

Then, at 6:30, NESCent introduces a public lecture by Adam Summers:

To kick off the exhibit, biologist Adam Summers will tell us about sharks as inspiration for biomaterials design and how these ancient fishes swim fast and grow huge. Find out what we have learned since Darwin's time about the underwater world of sharks and other fishes.

The talk is FREE and open to the public. First come, first served event. Space is limited. Reserve your ticket now!

Friday, February 12th
N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences
11 W. Jones Street, Downtown Raleigh

6:30 - 7:30 p.m.

While you're there, get a sneak preview of the exhibit:
Megalodon: Largest Shark That Ever Lived
5:00-8:00 p.m.
"Special Preview" discount pricing
$5.00 Adults, $3.00 Children (ages 5-11)
Free for Members

Separate tickets for the exhibit opening and the lecture are needed. Lecture is recommended for guests 12 years and older. Exhibit is recommended for everyone. Purchase/reserve tickets at https://tickets.naturalsciences.org

If you will be there tonight, find me and say Hello.

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Thanks for more education on sharks, with the threats this species faces today, they need all the help they can get.

By Andrew Keet (not verified) on 26 Feb 2010 #permalink