That’s a line in this video describing the scene when the South African police tow a beached whale carcass offshore—you can guess what it all looks like, if you’d rather not watch.
It just gets better, though. After the great white sharks have gorged themselves and are lolling about, the announcer declares that they have spotted the “tell-tale aspect of a large sexually aroused male”…
(via Byzantium’s Shores)
That guy is nuts. I love it.
Maureen Lycaon says
That shark expert is INSANE. But that’s fantastic. If only they’d gotten actual footage of a mating, though . . .
That will be a great line in the guy’s resume: “First scientist to photograph great white sharks eating whale carcass, from the whale’s point of view.”
I started thinking of Jaws and how the great white in that movie destroyed&sank the boat they were in…if only they had a dead whale, they would have been fine.
Thanks for the link! I loved the guy who climbed onto what’s left of the whale carcass, and says, “This may be the dumbest thing I’ve ever done.” That guy’s got to have one hell of a life story for that particular act to only possibly be the dumbest thing he’s ever done!
Was that a double penis on the shark or was I imagining something? The clip went rather fast.
I think it’s a double rear anal fin with a penis in between.
Cage diving with sharks is still on my to do list. Damn that was awesome.
Yes. A shark has two penises.
PZ Myers says
No, sharks have modified paired fins to make a pair of intromittent organs. They got two. Another thing to be jealous of, I guess.
I stand corrected.
#6: All sharks are equipped that way…..
Aside from the danger of climbing onto the still-being-scavenged whale carcass, what strikes me most is the less important, though still intriguing question:
How many showers did he have to take before finally scrubbing off the scent of rotten whale?
Tukla in Iowa says
they have spotted the “tell-tale aspect of a large sexually aroused male”
And you don’t believe in God?! :)
Is this from the film “Air Jaws?” I think it might be. That video is worth checking out; it’s about 45 minutes of sharks breaching at seals. Some of them get awesome distance, too.
Oh man, cold sweat. I had a flashback to my thesis defense.
Anyway, it seems to have worked out better than the Oregon dynamite whale episode.
I laughed out loud at the blubber-drunk shark bumping into the boat, but then the guy on the whale? Stupid, stupid, stupid. He should have at least been tied to a rope on the boat so they could haul his ass out quickly if they needed to.
About 15 seconds in, the announcer describes it as a “35-foot Brutus shark”.
Ian H Spedding FCD says
Am I the only one who was reminded of what the denizens of this group do to IDiots or creationists foolish enough to enter these waters? As to which of you have “a pair of intromittent organs”, I don’t think we need go there…
Oops, I mean “Brutus whale”. Stupid indignant grammar Nazi tendencies.
My ‘WTF?’ still stands. Brutus?
Also: the risks are worth the rewards
John Emerson says
Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea” was about something like this. The old man catches the biggest fish of his life, but by the time he gets back there’s nothing left.
Of course, they play up the significance of this as something “rare”, but really it isn’t.
I’ve seen that many whites out at the Farallons and North of Santa Cruz, and that ISN’T the first time whites have been filmed feeding on whale carcasses, either.
IOW, yeah, it’s a fine bit of photography, but by and large you should take the running commentary in the film with a large grain of salt.
oh, BTW, the intromittent organs are modifications of pelvic fins known as “claspers”, and not only are they twinned, they are essentially “double jointed”, er, just for those who found themselves envious to begin with.
shark mating ain’t much fun for the female in many cases though, as the males will often bite, most likely to help position themselves better. I’ve seen female whites with what looks like mating scars (very distinctive from the scars they get from battles with their common prey items).
#19: I think he meant “Bryde’s Whale”, which is pronounced as “Bru-dus” as it is done in the video.
April: “Is this from the film “Air Jaws?”
Yup, sure is. It’s sold with Air Jaws 2: Even Higher on the same disk, but the “sequel” isn’t quite as interesting as the 1st.
I once watched a special on either Discovery Channel or National Geographic about the theory that the key to getting white sharks randy is to have a bunch of them gorge to overfull on the carcass of a big whale. They had about a dozen people and a camera crew on a boat (hell this video may be a part of what I’m talking about) and they took a carcass out into deep water and watched what happened. Sure shit enough when the great white sharks were getting full and slowing down, most of them became aroused and the hump-fest began.
Troublesome Frog says
I don’t think I would stake my life on the assumption that the whale carcass will remain stable and not roll over while sharks grab 30lb chunks off of random regions of it.
Aerik, I think the documentary you’re talking about is Air Jaws, Rocky Strong (the guy who clambered out onto the whale) being a proponent of the hypothesis that whale carcasses might bring lots of sharks together, their full stomachs making them lethatgic and less aggressive towards each other. If I remember correctly I don’t think anyone has seen great whites mating or pupping, so the idea has yet to be confirmed.
Speaking of Air Jaws, what was really interesting was a documentary about ex-shark hunter Frank Mundus (the inspiration for Quint in JAWS), where they attempted to get white sharks to attack a towed seal replica in South Africa. The normal method didn’t work, so Mundus reccomended tying a piece of plastic around it to make it look injured (e.g. that it’s guts were hanging out), and when placed back into the water the sharks hit the bait right away, once again showing they prefer wounded prey.
If I remember correctly I don’t think anyone has seen great whites mating or pupping, so the idea has yet to be confirmed.
You are correct.
The normal method didn’t work, so Mundus reccomended tying a piece of plastic around it to make it look injured (e.g. that it’s guts were hanging out), and when placed back into the water the sharks hit the bait right away, once again showing they prefer wounded prey.
actually, it’s just as likely the sharks had become habituated to the previous shapes, and the added bit of novelty was enough to cause striking behavior again.
just to compare, we never had problems with surface lures when we did our studies, but then we didn’t go out near as often as these guys do.
Was the guy on the carcass in as much danger as some think? If he had fallen in, is it likely he would have been as interesting as the carcass? At that point it may be that the sharks would have tuned a small, moving target out as just another scavenger, and concentrated on the big easy meal. Perhaps that was the safest time to ever be in the water with a great white.
Still, I’m sure a life insurance rep wouldn’t have been saying “Yes, your late husband’s policy does cover falling off a rotting whale carcass into shark infested waters while trying to get a good close up”.
Woot! South Africa in the news at Pharyngula.
Woot! South Africa in the news at Pharyngula.
actually, I’ve seen the SA white shark guys featured on Discovery’s “shark week” just about every year for the last 6 years or so.
You might want to check that out, if this subject interests ya.