Blogs & Videos: Sharks

Sharks and Soup

From the salt-cured fish eggs of caviar to snails roasted in garlic, the human race has come up with many strange delicacies, some of which are offered locally.  In fact, Chicago’s Chinatown is famous for offering products derived from dried shark fins, such as shark fin soup – a broth delicacy containing fibers of cartilage from shark fins.  Unfortunately, the controversy surrounding shark fin soup has little to do with its texture – several of the shark species from which the fins come are endangered or vulnerable, raising questions about their conservation.

Shark Sense

Scientists are finding that some animals have a sense of where they came from – a homing device of sorts – and often return to their birthplace later in life.  You may be familiar with this behavior in salmon; the migration of salmon from the ocean to their freshwater spawning habitat is one of the most extreme in the animal kingdom!  This behavior is termed “natal philopatry”, which refers to animals returning to their own birthplace to give birth to their young.  In the marine world, natal philopatry has been documented in salmon, seals, and some sea turtles; but for the first time, the phenomenon has been recognized in lemon sharks. 

Brazil 2012 Fieldwork Diary Entry 6: Sharks Patrol These Waters

In my last entry, I noted that geological evidence suggests that some of the rocks that we're working in were formed near the shore of an inland sea, but that the environment became increasingly terrestrial as time passed, with some of the younger rocks representing sand dunes. Over the past two days, most of the fossils we discovered were preserved in the rocks that formed along the shoreline and are the remains of aquatic animals.