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Specimen of the week 221: The mega-toothed shark tooth

Will JRichard4 January 2016

LDUCZ-V1301 fossil megalodon tooth

LDUCZ-V1301 fossil megalodon tooth

Hello and a Happy New Year to you Grant-fans. So, the first specimen of the week of 2016 falls to me, Will Richard. And I’ve chosen a monster to kick off the year: possibly the biggest ever fish with teeth to match. This one was found on the 2nd January 1880 (seasonal!) but people have been puzzling over these dental discards for generations. They were originally believed to be the dried tongues of dragons but actually I think the truth might be scarier…

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The Western Australian shark cull

Emma-LouiseNicholls14 January 2014

The Situation
Twenty deaths have occurred in Western Australia due to sharks, over the last one hundred years (1). On one hand every life lost is a tragedy. On the other hand 20 deaths over 100 years, is nothing compared to other causes of death such as obesity, car accidents and even lightning. Each year, more people get killed by toasters worldwide than sharks. Nevertheless, the government decided action was needed to reduce the number of shark-related marine traumas and three years ago proposed a cull. This proposal was overturned in favour of investing $1.7 million into establishing four research projects at the Department of Fisheries in Western Australia to run from 2011-12 to 2015-16. The outline of these projects was to study shark ecology and behaviour, with the intended outcome of ‘improved capability to manage shark hazards’ (2). Sadly, a shark related marine trauma occurred at the end of 2013, which resulted in the death of a young father of two. Despite the rarity of such cases, and the yet to be completed research projects at the Department of Fisheries, the incident provoked a knee-jerk reaction* from the WA government in the guise of another proposal for a shark cull in Western Australia. In an official statement to the press, the WA government stated that the cull would comprise three major components (1): (more…)