Face it people, sometimes we humans are just nummy treats.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010 -- 9:24 pm
Mood: 09 You know I have too much time on my hands when...

I've been watching a little bit of Discovery Channel's Shark Week and it got me thinking. In all of the survivor accounts from shark attacks, someone always remarks that the shark always "mistakenly" attacked the person. You've heard it, all this crazy talk about "Oh, the shark thought the surfer was a seal."

The HELL? When a grizzly bear eats an innocent camper, no one ever says "Oh, well the bear mistook her for a giant salmon," or "Oh, the bear confused him for a gangly-looking, walking, talking raspberry bush." When a cougar stalks and kills a hiker, no one defends the cat by insisting that the hiker resembled a deer. So why are sharks let off the hook so easily? I'm not saying that the unfortunate victim need go all Captain Ahab vengeancy on said shark, I'm just out for a little equal accountability for all creatures big and small here.

I just don't buy into this "sharks don't eat people and if they do then the shark was just very confused" explanation. Yes, a lot of the reports insist that the shark was just curious by the fact that after taking a chomp out of the dude's leg, they all of a sudden abandon the idea and swim off. I personally think we could safely chalk that up to a more plausible theory -- that the shark in question who decides it's up for some Sunday Surfer Supper often realize that while we human prey are vastly stupid and easy to catch, we're also a royal pain in the ass once we're caught. After all, I doubt many seals they grab start to sucker punch them in the eye and kick them in their soft, fleshy gills. BAM! POW! BIFF! Maybe a Great White is just lazy when it comes to messing around with food that fights back and is quick to abandon us for some sweet smelling school of fish where all that is involved on Jaws' part is to swim straight and fast with his mouth wide open like a giant toothy fish net.

I have respect for sharks. I mean, obviously more so unbridled fear and overwhelming terror, but also respect. You think a shark can't tell the difference between a seal and a person? That they mistake the glint of light off an underwater wrist watch to be tasty fish? If I were a shark I'd be offended. I'd be all, "Fuck you, marine biologist, and guess what, you've just been added to my next weeks lunch menu. What's that, fancy pants shark researcher? You wanna say something about me too?"

So let's give the shark community a little credit here and say that more likely they were super hungry, there weren't currently any seals hanging around, "but hey, here's a convenient nibblet that was dumb enough to swim into my watery domain!" Luckily for humans, we have long agile limbs adapt at punching predators in the eyes with, which if I were a shark would be the last thing I'd want to put up with at the end of a long, grueling day. After all, I'd rather be labeled lazy than stupid. I have my shark pride to think of.

Graham says:
August 3rd, 2010 -- 9:30 pm

Hahahaha. Well played.

Lance says:
August 3rd, 2010 -- 10:12 pm

This was a delight to read.

Nickie says:
August 3rd, 2010 -- 10:33 pm

Sharks brains are FAR more primitive than the other animals you're comparing them to. Sharks are chondrichthyes (just above hagfish!) don't have the same viable sensory inputs as say - a bear. Their brains - ALL olfactory input - this means if it smells like food - it is food. They have super shitty eyes and NO cerebral cortex to speak of (so no higher order processing) - so no they don't associate between seal vs human like a bear could (although bears just think people are food too)
Compaing sharks to bears anatomically is like comparing apples and computers.

None-the-less your thoughts amuse me :)

Brenna says:
August 3rd, 2010 -- 10:47 pm

You, Ms. Cowan, are a killjoy. You take all the fun out of nerdy rants.

HOWEVER, despite your university educated claim, according to many sites on Google the original theory that sharks had poor eyesight has apparently been contradicted lately and that rather sharks, in fact, have very strong eyesight (although are farsighted, so technically the sharks of the world should all be wearing eye glasses. I bet they wouldn't be nearly as intimidating wearing a pair of thick-rimmed prescription lenses from the local underwater Walmart.)

Graham says:
August 7th, 2010 -- 10:01 pm

I think it's awesome that for once I wasn't the one who nitpicked a funny rant to death. ;)

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