ZMKF aka DORKY SHARK
Yes, I am talking about the group of apex predators.
Sharks belong to Selachimorpha, a lower classification within Elasmobranchii. (The exact taxonomy of sharks is down at the bottom.) They share Elasmobranchii with skates, rays, and sawfish, and they share Chondrichthyes with Holocephali, a group of “ghost sharks” (chimaeras) sometimes separated into their own class.
The page on Sharks from the Smithsonian Ocean Portal describes their variety beyond just the Great White: “They range in size from the length of a human hand to more than 39 feet (12 meters) long; half of all shark species are less than one meter (or about 3 feet) long. They come in a variety of colors (including bubble gum pink)…” In case you’re wondering about the bubblegum pink one…so did I. I looked it up for you:
Pay no mind to the face. Instead, I’ll show you the world’s cutest shark to cleanse your eyes and then we can move on.
Sharks are not innately scary, not even Great Whites. “But what about all the shark attacks I hear about?” you say. Shark attacks do happen, and there are four main types of attack. I’m going to explain and justify each one so you have a bit of information to help you calm the f*ck down about sharks.
Type 1: Sudden/Alternate Attacks. A shark will be swimming alongside you or a fur seal, appearing to be utterly lackadaisical, then suddenly – BAM! – it changes direction, speeds towards you, and “gently” tastes you at high speed. Alternate (or Redoublement) attacks are pretty similar, expect the shark does it again at some point – if you stuck around, that is. The shark is not trying to mess with your head. It’s not evil, either. These shark attack types reflect hunting tactics. And sharks don’t really hunt humans. Human swimming is different from marine animal swimming. Marine animals belong there. Packs of wolves will commonly go for the weakest, youngest, or sickest of the herd that they are chasing. This makes sense. Sharks are the same, and our “swimming” feels like a confused, disoriented fur seal. Our “fun splashing” is their dinner bell.
Type 2: Ambush Attack. This really is the nightmare scenario (and it happens rarely)! A shark will wait below you, near the reef or just far below enough to hide, and then *cue Jaws theme* up it comes, too fast for you to react until…chomp. Other reasons for shark attacks other than you swimming (flailing, really, obviously unaware of your lack of grace while in the water) like dinner include looking like dinner. Like surfing? Oh, good. Nice hobby. Look:
Do not blame the shark. Do not blame the shark. Get a safe hobby, like painting or stamp collecting. Just kidding…you can totally surf. But just don’t go out there thinking you’re invincible and then getting mad when a buddy with big teeth gets hungry.
Type 3: Adventitious attack. Let’s say there’s blood in the water. Let’s hope it’s not your blood, but if it is, guess what? You’re next! Question for you, you’re hanging out in your own house and free food from a source you know is trustworthy shows up…and you’d be able to tell if it wasn’t safe to eat…it is around lunch time…do you take advantage of it? If your answer is no…are you an idiot? Sharks are not philosophers. They don’t doubt their food. They eat it. And sharks, my friend, can detect blood in water at one part per million. That’s hardly the entire ocean, but it should convince you finish bleeding before entering the water.
Type 4: Provoked attack. Otherwise known as, the You Really Are An Idiot Attack. Imagine poking a bear with a sharp stick, or attempting to make off with one of its cubs. Will the bear take kindly to you doing that? Not at all. You will get a similarly negative reception if you are a dick to a shark. I’m not going to say anything else about this because if you wanna go test it out, by all means, go ahead. It’s your funeral.
All in all, I think we can agree that shark attacks are not the shark’s fault. In any way. You want proof? Shark attacks are thankfully rare. From the Wildlife Museum: “The odds of getting attacked and killed by a shark are 1 in 3,748,067. In a lifetime, you are more likely to die from fireworks (1 in 340,733), light- ning (1 in 79,746), drowning (1 in 1,134), a car accident (1 in 84), stroke (1 in 24), or heart disease (1 in 5).”
There is no reason to be frightened of sharks.
Sharks are dorks.
I know it’s a long way from fear to reluctant nonchalance to understanding to pity. Hopefully I can guide you on the first few steps.
An estimated 100 million sharks are killed for shark fin soup. Served in Vietman and other Asian countries, shark fin soup is essentially chicken soup with a…special ingredient. Shark fin. Duh. Guess what? Shark fin tastes like absolutely nothing, and it has no value, nutritional or otherwise. In the documentary Sharkwater, the late Rob Stewart looked into the supposed “medicinal value” of shark fins – that includes claims that they help cure cancer – and found none of it was based in fact. Also, according to Newsweek, Donald Trump has eaten shark fin soup and liked it. So…you should not support the making of the soup.
100 million sharks are killed for no reason. And yes, de-finning sharks kills them. They’re unable to swim and drown shortly after the removal of their fins.
Sure, you may not actively support de-finning, but are you doing anything to help stop it? Did you even know about it?
To put 100 million dead sharks in perspective, here’s a graphic from the Huffington Post:
Sharks are harmless. Sharks like to be pet.
You have to slow your heart rate to get near enough to do it, otherwise you scare them into staying away (they can sense heartbeat rates!), which is why I think they’d make good therapy animals.
Sharks do not deserve us and our caustic ways. They deserve to be left alone.
This is in no way comprehensive. I did not describe or even list all the threats sharks face. I will get more specific in later articles, but for now, my point was to simply start to address a big issue, and let you think about it, but most importantly, let you know sharks are ridiculous dorks who don’t deserve to be so badly hurt. I want to take it nice and slow. I don’t want to overwhelm you with information, or do the same to myself. If you want more information or more proof of the devastation, for now, go the sites below.