Prehistoric Sharks

the_adamsFebruary 12, 2007

So far this year two prehistoric sharks have been caught alive and have died quickly in captivity. It is rare to see these creatures who live near the bottom of the ocean and usually only surface after dying.

On Jan 25 the Goblin Shark (4'3) was caught by the Tokyo Sea Life Park during a fishing expedition after it was caught in fishing nets that were 550 - 600 feet deep. The shark was then put on public display and died on Jan 27.

During its short time alive in captivity the park was able to observe the way it swims and after its death it was dissected for studying.

The Frilled Shark (5'3) was caught on Jan 21. Again, rare to see alive, it was spotted by fisherman. After being caught it was taken to Japan's Awashima Marine Park and placed on public display. This "living fossil", who is belived to have changed little since prehistoric times, died within hours.

Both of this mysterious creatures are believed to be near extinction. Since little is known about these creatures it is possible that their bodies may hold a cure or treatment for some human condition. And who can say what may be learned through studying.

But they ARE unique & almost extinct. What is your thought. Should we capture them knowing they will die within hours or days just to study them for the short time they are alive and then to study their corpse? Or should they be left alone, to preserve a part of our historic ocean?

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That frilled shark is an odd creature eh! They should be studied as long as they are already in posession, anything else would be stupid and a waste. How do we know they are near extinction? maybe just because they are not commonly caught they are thought to be rare? Wouldnt seem right to go after them in a big way. Then again, if they are that near to extinction what would be the sense in preserving the few remaining?
We have in a river nearby a few freshwater clams which are holding up reconstruction of a bridge; these clams are very few in number they say, so, thery will be gone in x number of years; why worry about them, build the darn bridge. I do believe its worth saving some endangered species, IF they have a viable chance of survival.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2007 at 7:48PM
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Deep Sea Diving, Cameras & Fishing help give an accurate portrayal of the number of each species. Science is not known for making assumptions that are not based on fact and evidence.

While the Goblin Shark was already caught in fishers nets, the Frilled Shark was caught intentionally.

Many species, due to the Endangered Species Act, have been brought back from the brink of extinction. If you do find it beneficial to study an animal, corpse or alive, for whatever reason, what benefit do they have us if we drive them to extinction?

    Bookmark   February 12, 2007 at 8:31PM
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They have already stated that both were sick & dying. That is why they were surfacing to topwater, other wise they would never have come up from the deep, which makes very good since.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2007 at 10:52PM
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Anya, I received my info from National Geographic. They said that there would be no way to know if the sharks were sick, even though some are theorizing. In fact, that is usually a theory when deep sea creatures come up.

Who is your "They"?

    Bookmark   February 13, 2007 at 4:24AM
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National Geographic, and yes they did say that in "theory". And it's a darn good one, makes perfect since.
But I do disagree with the N.G. story saying there is no way to know, when the autopsies could say. I think scientist's know more then they are actually saying for now.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2007 at 8:29AM
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Why would anyone think a prehistoric shark would hold a cure for some human ailment? Because they have managed to survive so long? In the depths of the ocean? What would that have to do with humans who walk upright on land? I'm just asking.

I think the point made earlier was right - so what if they did hold some cure - and we drove them to extinction which they may or may not be close to anyhow? Then what good would the cure do?

My .02 is leave them alone. We've done enough damage to species both in and out of the water.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2007 at 1:23PM
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Good point Share_oh... PEOPLE ruin EVERYTHING... "we" kill innocent wildlife that was here before we were, and even each other. People are the most evil species on Earth, and if there is something we've managed not to ruin yet, we should leave it be! Who knows why they are almost extinct though... is it because of people? I'd guess so!

    Bookmark   February 13, 2007 at 6:07PM
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Share_oh, someone may think that a treatment/cure could be derived from an animal because many already are. What makes this situation unique is it is an animal that we know little to nothing about.

I understand the concept of sacrificing life to save life. Although, I do not understand the concept of causing a species extinction for our own survival... or even worse, our own curiosity!

    Bookmark   February 13, 2007 at 7:13PM
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Here is an example of how something found in another species can help humans: my doctor is having me start on a drug called Bayetta. It is used for people with type II Diabetes (the kind you get in adulthood, not childhood) to help regulate their blood sugars. It also may help with weight loss. What is Bayetta? Its nickname is "Lizard Spit" because it is a synthetic drug (man-made) that was based upon a protein found in the spit or venom of the Gila Monster. This lizard manages to have a stable blood sugar, despite eating only about four times a year. When scientists studied the Gila Monster to learn how he managed this, they found this protein in its spit. They synthesized it, and now many, many diabetics are finding they can control their sugars and lose weight. This is especially hard because the other medications given to diabetics tend to make them gain weight instead.

So if scientists really did get a chance to study these sharks, there may have been questions about the sharks that they were hoping to answer. I know that we do not understand the ability of many creatures to withstand the huge pressures found at the bottom of the oceans.

Here is a link that might be useful: scroll down for article

    Bookmark   February 17, 2007 at 9:33PM
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Nancy - Thanks for posting that article. My husband is a Type 1 Diabetic, I remember reading about the Gila Monster Venom a while back. Very interesting! Also, that isn't to mention that originally the only type of Insulin avaliable was that derived from pigs.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2007 at 5:52AM
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Video of the Frilled Shark

Here is a link that might be useful: Video

    Bookmark   February 23, 2007 at 2:19PM
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Interestingly enough, (in response to Anya's above comment) the article attached to the video clip linked above said:

"Researchers investigating why the shark was found in shallow waters think it may have surfaced along with deep-sea water pushed up to shallow depths by easterly winds. Another possibility is that it left the deep waters because of cool water temperatures near the surface. Or perhaps it came in search of food."

Thank you for sharing the video Bbaird, my DH had shown it to me before but it was nice to see again. Really a interesting looking creature!

    Bookmark   February 25, 2007 at 12:23AM
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