Monster Under the Bridge

Dr. Neil Hammerschlag and Dr. Tristan Guttridge investigate reports of monster sharks making their home under the old seven mile bridge in the Florida keys. One shark in particular has stories going back 30 years named Big Moe. They hypothesize this could be a new subspecies of hammerhead shark.

Hammerhead sharks very rarely attack humans, of the recorded attacks all were defensive actions. Hammerheads are a migratory species but they can be found year round in this area. Great hammerhead sharks grow to an average of 12 feet but the stories describe much bigger sharks. The doctors encountered a 17 foot hammerhead and took samples and tagged it. The seven mile bridge was erected in 1912 and each pylon is an artificial reef so there is an abundance of life on which the sharks can feed. The currents make for terrible visibility under the bridge so it’s ideal for hunting sharks.
During their research they took DNA samples showing many of the hammers were in fact siblings of different ages in the same area. These samples will help scientists determine if there is something unique about the keys hammerheads. They also discovered that the Florida keys are a hammerhead nursery, the only one on record in the world.
More data is needed to decide if the hammerheads that call seven mile bridge home are a new species of shark or not, but the discovery of the nursery is a huge step in understanding why these animals come back year after year to the same place.

Adam Devine’s Secret Shark Lair

In 2019 during Shark Week special Eat, Prey, Chum a camera tag was mounted on a tiger shark. That tag showed an enormous gathering of tiger sharks in the Bahamas. So to prove this is a tiger shark super site they had to gather proof of feeding (these are sharks – that’s not hard to do), mating (which has never been caught on camera before) and Pupping (Babies!)
So Adam Devine and his friends Blake Anderson, and Anders Holm put together the greatest research team available during a pandemic. Not really though because Discovery Channel did all that. Dr. Austin Gallagher and his team did all the work with a team of the most annoying mascots in the world making everything harder for them. The narrator gave shark facts when the village idiots occasionally stopped babbling. They did manage to film male and female tiger sharks tailing each other in a blue hole, it is rare for both sexes of this species to be seen together so that is a good sign this is a mating ground. They found a baby tiger shark making it a nursery also. So they did prove that this is a tiger shark super site. The Bahamas are a shark sanctuary so this is proof that the sharks are thriving there.
I want that hour of my life back. It felt so much longer than just one hour. That was actually painful to get through. This is why I hate celebrity shark dives.

Great White Double Trouble

Shark attacks are on the rise in Australia. Researchers have discovered that Aussies are facing not one population of great white sharks, but two individual tribes of them. They stay separate from each other on the east and west coasts. But the sharks on the west coast are far more deadly than their eastern cousins. There are an estimated 7000 great white sharks patrolling the waters around Australia at any given time. Since 2000 the east coast has had four fatal shark attacks and the west coast has had 22. Shark Attack survivor Paul DeGelder and Dr. Riley Scott put the two shark tribes head to head to see what makes one so much more lethal than the other.

They tested size, bite strength, and hunting behavior to determine what the difference is. They only found juvenile sharks along the east coast so they had to head out to Stuart Island to find adults to compare to the west coast. (your first clue) All three tests proved that the adults were the same on both coasts, all capable of devastating ambush attacks from below. On the eastern side however they found something never seen before by humans, juvenile great whites, sub-adult great whites, and massive adult great whites all congregated together at Stuart Island. This could be a mating ground.

The fact that only juvenile great whites, who don’t even hunt seals yet, were found on the coastline of the east is the biggest reason the fatalities are so much different. Juveniles hunt for fish at the surface and are cautious nibbling and taking small exploratory bites that from which humans could recover. The west coast great whites are all gigantic adults that ambush anything they see at the surface from below. Also the More popular surfing areas are on the west coast so the coastline is much more populated with humans than the east.

 Tonight was an idiot sandwich. Two good shows with new information and excellent research on each side of a slice of stupidity. Seriously, why does Discovery Channel feel the need to dumb down Shark Week? I’m not saying all celebrities make for moronic shows, I was stunned by Mike Tyson on Monday and Will Smith brought a whole new aspect to Shark Week yesterday. But this was just willful ignorance running rampant. Funny is good, and I realize comedy is subjective but when you are trying to educate people about sharks lets not add stupid people to the mix. Sharks are dangerous and adding people who are portraying their antics as being ok to joke around when in the waters with sharks is just asking for trouble. 

Sylvia Papineau is an Arcade resident and self-proclaimed Shark Week ‘finatic.’ Watch All WNY all week for her take on Shark Week 2020 specials. And share our Shark Week features on social media with the tag #AllWNYSharkWeek for a chance to win an All WNY Shark Week mask.

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