to people who think sharks are man eating killing machines….. here’s a post to remind you that the shark in the movie jaws isn’t real. just in case you didn’t know that :) it’s just a machine it’s okay
you chewed those candies i had to spit out because they had too much cinnamon even though i drank waterglasses full of fireball and you’d let me. and you would walk barefoot on piers while i worried about splinters. you knew how to swim, was all, and i couldn’t stop talking about how unfair it is we keep killing the sharks. i don’t know how to explain it, only that i woke up one morning and saw the day where you would leave me suddenly blip into existence on the horizon. i spent the rest of my time running in the opposite direction; thinking - i could stall it, i could make it go away if i just - but i’d wake up and it would be closer. i don’t know. i put worms back into the soil after a rainstorm and you asked me why i bothered when there’s thousands of worms and i could only save a few of them. and i knew in that moment our time had come.
The scariest thing about the sea is how little we know of it. As the saying goes, we know less about the oceans than the surface of the moon. And that’s the scientists. The laymen know even less, and even most of that is skewed and laden with misinformation, no little thanks to the media’s sensationalistic fuckery that proposes that the entire ocean is out to fillet your ass. (As a reminder, my continous insistence that the sea is a writhing Lovecraftian hellscape full of man-eating terror is a conscious exaggeration for the sake of comedy. Please do not take my writing style seriously.)
The worst case of this is obviously sharks. The poor things have been so much vilified for no reason. Ever since Jaws and its massive cultural impact, sharks became the go-to bad guy of the animal world, with real-life effects too. (Can I say widespread shark hunting after the movie came out? I’m sure I can.) It also caused various memetic bullshit spreading about sharks that means we ended up with films like this.
Pictured: what the fresh hell
A trend I noticed in this killer shark shittery is that the “killer shark” is always a Great White. Always, always a Great White, which is also the first thing that pops into people’s minds when someone says “shark”. It’s like other sharks don’t exist, which is sad because sharks are a group as diverse as, say, carnivore mammals. Can you imagine if people wrote off carnivores as just wolves and nothing else? Because this is exactly like that.
Sharks are crazy diverse, but we never manage to peel our eyes away from the Great White for a long enough time to notice how insane they are. We have stuff like sawfish,
and the utterly ridiculous thing called the wobbegong. (Yes, that is a shark.)
What I’m basically saying is that sharks have as many forms as any other order of animals do, and people are so preoccupied with tacking as many CGI teeth on the Great White as it is humanly possible that we don’t notice how interesting, and weird, and fucking stupid sharks can be.
Seriously, I dare you to go to a shark horror movie and take the shark danger seriously after acquainting yourself with today’s specimen, the swellshark. Because this guy is just so ridiculous, I swear to Cthulhu.
This right here is today’s specimen, Cephaloscyllium ventriosum. It’s a pretty run-of-the-mill shark, small, brown and pointy-nosed, but its entire life goal is to methodically fuck up the fearsome reputation its Great White cousin has worked so hard for, and be absolutely laughable.
It spends all day being a lazy ass and sleeping in rocky crevices, hunting at night by being even more of a lazy ass and lying in wait until the prey is mere centimeters away, or even more of a lazy ass by laying on the rock bottom with its mouth open and literally waiting for the prey to swim into it. However, sometimes it can be a surpisingly daft little shit and raid human lobster traps without getting caught.
The stupid part is its self defense strategy.
So we’ve established that this little fuck lives in rock crevices. Naturally, this means that anything sufficiently determined and hungry can easily pull it out, right?
Wrong. Because if threatened, the swellshark lives up to its name by pulling the most ludicrous defense stunt this side of self destruction.
It sucks up water, and does this.
IT INFLATES. IT FUCKING INFLATES. THIS IS AN INFLATABLE SHARK. I QUIT.
Furthermore, it bites into its own tail and thus turns into a swollen little donut that’s completely impossible to dislodge from the crevice it’s in. I mean it works, but it’s so dumb.
To take away even more from the fearsome reputation of sharks, it is bioluminescent, and it has a tendency of sleeping in heaps of fellow little sharks.
So the next time someone puts out an Ultra Mutant Killer Shark movie, remember that there is a shark that glows in the dark, sleeps in cuddle piles and inflates to defend itself, and have a merry day laughing at the film’s stupidity.
Life on earth, as magnificent and versatile as it is, is seemingly tame compared to the weird and wonderful creatures that once existed. All categories of life have reached unimaginable sizes, here are just a selection of prehistoric record breakers!
MEGALODON The biggest shark known to have existed, ruling over the oceans as recently as up to a million years ago. A length of almost 20 metres and weighing in at an estimated 48 tonnes, Megalodon could deliver a crucifying bite of up to 110,000N. It is no surprise that the Megalodon was dubbed the “whale killing shark”.
MEGATHERIUM Our early ancestors would have been quite familiar with Megatherium as they existed up to 8000 years ago, they were in fact the largest sloths to have existed. Sloths have a reputation as being lazy, slow and docile, but Megatherium was a 6 metre long, 4 tonne monster with a killer instinct and knife-like claws. Megatherium’s discovery came before that of the dinosaurs. Skeletons of these prehistoric beasts were a delight to the Victorian public and paved the way for the science of palaeontology.
ARCHELON Literally meaning “large turtle”, Archelon certainly was just that. Existing during the cretaceous, the time of the dinosaurs, Archelon could reach 4.5 metres long and may have lived to over 100 years old. Archelon could not compete with other cretaceous beings in speed and agility, but its blade-like beak was able to slice through flesh and crush though the toughest ammonite shells. Unfortunately Archelon appears to have been a popular snack for other marine dwellers, skeletons are frequently missing flippers or heads and covered in slashes.
TITANOBOA When the dinosaurs reign ended, a new era saw the rise of new super-predators, one was Titanoboa, the largest snake ever with a body up to 13 metres long, standing a metre off the ground and weighing up to 2500 pounds. Titanoboa was 30% longer than even todays largest species. Scientists believe this humongous snake hunted like its modern relatives, the boa constrictors, by winding around prey and suffocating them.
IRISH ELK Owner of the largest antlers of any animal, up to 3 metres wide, the Irish Elk gets its name from its frequent discoveries in Irish peat bogs. Existing up to 10,000 years ago, these would have been a common sight in grasslands for our ancestors. Many fossils indicate the animals died of starvation which is why the antlers are thought to have been part of elaborate mating contests between males, often resulting in one being fatally injured and unable to feed itself.
DEINOTHERIUM A distant relative of the elephants and mammoths, Deinotherium was more sinister, its name translates to “terrible beast”, they would have most likely caused trouble for our ancient ancestors around 1.5 million years ago. Deinotherium is actually considered to be the second largest land mammal of all time, behind Paraceratherium and is iconic in appearance due to its sharp, downward facing tusks.
ARCTODUS Known as the short faced bear, they were the biggest bears on record and one of the largest mammal carnivores to have existed. Whilst their skull was short, they were packed with piercing teeth that could deliver a bone crushing bite. Existing up to 11,000 years ago, out ancestors would have stayed well clear of this 900 kilogram predator, with slender limbs and knife-like claws, Arctodus was deadly.
SARCOSUCHUS One of the most infamous fossil discoveries in history, Sarcosuchus was the largest crocodile to walk the Earth up to 112 million years ago, this was a crocodile capable of killing dinosaurs. Sarcosuchus was twice as long as a saltwater crocodile, that’s 11-12 metres long and could reach over 8 tonnes. Its jaw was packed full of 66 teeth either side of its jaw and would have clamped down on prey that wandered too near.
ARGENTINOSAURUS One of the largest lifeforms that has ever stood on the Earth, Argentinosaurus could grow up to 30 metres long with its hind limbs standing 4.5 metres off the ground. They existed between 97-94 million years ago and at adulthood would have been virtually indestructible to predators. Its weight is estimated at a staggering 80-100 tonnes. There hasn’t been another land mammal on the same scale as Argentinosaurus since and it’s unlikely there ever will be.
SPINOSAURUS The largest discovered therapod ever, a group that includes Allosaurus and Tryrannosaurus. Spinosaurus remained an enigma to scientists for decades, the only discovered specimen was sadly destroyed during World War 2 and was not rediscovered until the 21st century. Spinosaurus is thought to have reached up to 16 metres long and weighed in around 12 tonnes, that is almost double the weight of a T-rex!