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Jul 18, 2013

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drudown

@Mike

As a threshold matter, it is intellectually dishonest to even intimate that "sharks prefer specific prey" when, in reality, the Oceanic Whitetip/Tiger/Bull and even White shark are very much "generalist feeders"- particularly when out in the open ocean ecosystem where just about anything and everything edible is viewed as prey. Google "shark takes woman's leg" for DIRECT EVIDENCE that human beings are not only "on the menu", but is also definitive evidence that it is the post-attack conduct of the prey (H. sapiens) that more plausibly "explains" why the shark doesn't finish the job, i.e., human beings come to the aid of other human beings as a function of Kin Selection and other selective forces upon our species. To be sure, you are divining another "explanation" altogether, i.e., the "reason" sharks do not "finish the job" ("whatever that means" - Lloyd Skinner) is because (the misguided argument goes) sharks are attacking humans out of "mistake" and, well, once they "realize what they did after doing it for the 1,000,000+ time" they decide to depart.

Taken to its illogical conclusion, a shark has to eat an entire human being (a la Lloyd Skinner at Fish Hoek) for it to be "actual predation"? That is a farce. Bears routinely prey on only a limb or two when engaging in human predation but, alas, nobody asserts "they bear only ate the bottom half so, as you can see, it wasn't feeding"...much less, "see! the bear must have thought the human was an Elk calf and then left when it realized it was 'mistaken identity'". That's how absurd the modern dogma in Shark Sociobiology has become.

And everybody keeps parroting the same pseudo-science, hoping the larger public will uncritically adopt it in order to help "save the shark". Such non sequitur logic- much less social conditioning- has no place in modern Science.

Perhaps a more plausible explanation as to why why apex predator sharks engage in a "hit and run" predation strategy with human beings might be as follows: sharks are wary of injury and human beings have the technological means to injure them. As such, the sharks that had the greatest "flight response" from an initial attack (a la "hit and run" predation strategy) were more likely to pass genes on to the next generation than those that lingered. Or do you deny that the factual record tends to show human beings killing sharks after such instances of human predation?

In this regard, I'm not sure how you can credibly contend there is "clear evidence" that "hommins [sic.] are nothing more than a foreign invader at best"? Certainly there is no dispute we have had an unbroken, continuous course of dealing in their ecosystem...so, whether or not any human deems humanity to be a "foreign invader" or a naturally occurring, seafaring primate is really immaterial to the threshold issue of whether or not sharks "know what humans are". Either the two species have an unbroken course of dealing, or they do not.

Conspicuously, human beings have engendered indirect [e.g., commercial fishing/spear fishing/whaling] feeding opportunities and, of course, we are also a tertiary prey item [e.g., USS Indianapolis attack and maritime disasters]. To even suggest that we are somehow "foreign" to sharks is as silly as suggesting "cage dives associate people with food". Sorry, those associations were made 10,000+ years before the Bible was written...much less when JAWS was first released.

As long as Hominids have been rafting to new environments to exploit, sharks have been waiting, in every sense of the word.

Notably, even today- after such maritime disasters (a la USS Indianapolis)- a myriad of what we are conditioned to believe are "relatively harmless" shark species [e.g., Silky sharks] will nonetheless realize a feeding opportunity at our expense.

Why?

Because they are generalist feeders. As such, the distinctions you cite are merely in the human mind. There is no actual evidence that proves what you assert to be true, i.e., that apex predator sharks only eat "specific prey"...or that we aren't a naturally occurring prey item- even a tertiary one.

"Opportunity makes a thief." - Francis Bacon

Mike q

@drudown. The evidence shows that sharks prefer specific prey and that is not us. Most of the time a stark strikes and then doesn't finish the job for that very reason. Of course they are opportunists as well but there is no clear evidence that hommins are nothing more than a foreign invader at best.

drudown

While I respectfully take no position on the purported efficacy of these products, I find it humorous that they are placed into the stream of commerce on the commonly misguided premise that, well, we are somehow "alien" or "relative newcomers" in the marine ecosystem. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Our Hominid ancestors have always domiciled along the coastline and harvested the marine ecosystem. Conspicuously, the only shark with freshwater adaptations (Bull shark) thrived along the major waterways (e.g., Zambezi river; Tigris river; Amazon river; Ganges river, et al.) that sustained some of the earliest civilizations... to this very day...to say nothing of H. Erectus and early H. sapiens rafting and colonizing the very ends of the Earth.

So, explain to me again how a creature with arguably the most sophisticated array of perceptive faculties doesn't "know what we are" in the marine ecosystem we have been competing in for hundreds of thousands- if not millions (i.e., if you count our nearly identical H. habilis progenitors) of years?

Just curious.

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