We want your shark facts!
Steven Spielberg’s classic film about a killer 20 foot (25, all three tons of him) shark is the stuff of legend, in production, in finished film and at the box office. After all it was the first film in history to surpass the (then) magic $100 million dollar mark. But what made it so successful, so quickly?
Jaws had a memorable and successful marketing campaign that included its iconic Roger Kastel designed poster of Bruce surging up below and unwitting Chrissie and who could forget the dulcet tones of Percy Rodriguez as he uttered the words ‘it is as God has created the Devil and given him Jaws’ in the Jaws trailer.
Another great piece of promotion for the film was a poster featuring 14 shark facts and a smaller version of the Jaws poster. Blurring the line between the fiction of the film and facts about sharks, the poster was verified by a Shark Research Specialist Professor and was said to provided as a Public Service by the Producers of Jaws. A similar campaign was used for Jaws 2 in 1978.
Of course, it has been over 43 years since these facts were used on the posters, in that time we have discovered so much more about the greatness of sharks.
So, being Shark Week - and our very own Bruce Week - we wanted to help celebrate sharks and Jaws by creating The Daily Jaws version of shark facts.
The originals are below but we want to hear your greatest or favourite shark fact, something that helps recognise how wonderful this species - many of them endangered - is.
Or perhaps there is something on the original list that you think deserves to remain. Either way, tell us what the fact is and why you think it deserves to be on the list.
Before laying out it’s (ahem) public service message, the poster states: If you swim in the sea, anywhere in the world, you do not do so without risk. The shark is an ancient and wide-ranging, and ever present threat.
Sharks do not ordinarily feed on human beings. But as volumes will attest, they do attack. How and when and why is still unpredictable. Therefore, if you must venture into the ocean, at least know your enemy. At present, there is much about the shark’s behaviour we do not fully comprehend. Some of the important things we do know are enumerated below.
You would be wise to study them.
Fact 1 All sharks, no matter what their size, should be treated with respect. There are over 300 species of shark. Most are predators, born with a full set of teeth and the instinct to use them. Even a shark much smaller than a man has the ability to inflict fatal injuries.
Fact 2 The seas off our shore are aprowl with many killers. The proven maneaters include the Blue Shark, the Tiger Shark, the Bull Shark, the Mako, the Hammerhead, and most fearsome of all...the Great White
Fact 3 Fresh water swimmers are not necessarily safe from sharks. A lake in Central America contains some of the most voracious sharks in the world. Experiments have proven that some sharks traverse 100 miles of river to get there. Three of the worst attacks in U.S. history occurred in a brackish New Jersey creek 20 miles from the open sea.
Fact 4 The shark is in many respects one of the most successful creatures on the planet. The first sharks appeared over 300 million years ago. They have changed relatively little in the last 60 million years. The sharks prey are many, his enemies few. He is a most efficient killing machine.
Fact 5 Shark attacks may be motivated by more than mere hunger. There is evidence that the shark has a “fighting instinct”, that he attacks for reasons of true aggression - probably to protect territory, personal space or status.
Fact 6 Some sharks can move in tremendous bursts of speed. The Mako, which can leap twenty feet out of the water has been reported to exceed 30 miles an hour.
Fact 7 A shark is a tooth making machine. And the teeth you see in a shark’s gaping mouth aren’t the half of it. Behind the front row lay at least four to six rows. Razor sharp cutting and sharing tools, they are often serrated like a steak knife. When a tooth is lost, a new tooth replaces it. In one chomp, a shark can inflict a wound which is massive and almost surgically precise.
Fact 8 A major portion of a shark’s brain is devoted to the sense of smell. An incredibly small concentration of blood in the water can arouse his feeding desire and bring him running to the source from far away. If you are bleeding, no matter how slightly, get out of the water.
Fact 9 A shark’s vision is far from poor. Like a panther, his eyes are designed to be efficient in very dim light. In the dark, the shark has a very special advantage over you. Never swim at night.
Fact 10 Sharks have been known to attack practically anything. Floating barrels. Life rafts. Whirling propellers. And boats. One hooked shark attacked a 35 foot fishing boat, tore planking from the bottom, and sank it.
Fact 11 Shark attacks occur in water of every depth. They have killed in open sea and at the surf line. Some of the worst attacks occurred in water only knew deep.
Fact 12 A shark doesn’t have to bite you to hurt you. His skin is extremely rough, covered with tiny denticle structures very similar to teeth. Rub him the wrong way, and he can severely abraded your skin.
Fact 13 Sharks are superbly equipped to detect low-frequency vibrations - the erratic noises made by wounded fish...and poor swimmers. He can home in on these peculiar sounds from hundreds of yards. Swim smoothly.
Fact 14 Of all the sharks in the sea, the Great White ( Carcharodon carcharias) is unquestionably the most dangerous. The largest er captured measured 21 feet and weighed over 3.5 tons. They undoubtedly grow even larger. The known food of the Great White Shark includes mackerel, tuna, porpoise, seal, other sharks, and in terrible occasions...man.
Fact 15 For all large animals found in the sea, man is the easiest prey.
Authenticated by Donald R. Nelson (Ph.D.), Shark Research Specialist, Associate Professor of Biology California State University, Long Beach.
By Dean Newman
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