Big dinosaur age shark discovery


Cretaceous fossil sharks reconstruction. Credit: Frederickson et al.

From LiveScience:

20-Foot Monster Shark Once Trolled Mesozoic Seas

by Tia Ghose, Senior Writer

June 03, 2015 02:01pm ET

A giant shark the size of a two-story building prowled the shallow seas 100 million years ago, new fossils reveal.

The massive fish, Leptostyrax macrorhiza, would have been one of the largest predators of its day, and may push back scientists’ estimates of when such gigantic predatory sharks evolved, said study co-author Joseph Frederickson, a doctoral candidate in ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Oklahoma.

The ancient sea monster was discovered by accident. Frederickson, who was then an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, had started an amateur paleontology club to study novel fossil deposits. In 2009, the club took a trip to the Duck Creek Formation, just outside Fort Worth, Texas, which contains myriad marine invertebrate fossils, such as the extinct squidlike creatures known as ammonites. About 100 million years ago the area was part of a shallow sea known as the Western Interior Seaway that split North America in two and spanned from the Gulf of Mexico to the Arctic, Frederickson said.

While walking in the formation, Frederickson’s then-girlfriend (now wife), University of Oklahoma anthropology doctoral candidate Janessa Doucette-Frederickson, tripped over a boulder and noticed a large vertebra sticking out of the ground. Eventually, the team dug out three large vertebrae, each about 4.5 inches (11.4 centimeters) in diameter. [See Images of Ancient Monsters of the Sea]

“You can hold one in your hand,” but then nothing else will fit, Frederickson told Live Science.

The vertebrae had stacks of lines called lamellae around the outside, suggesting the bones once belonged to a broad scientific classification of sharks called lamniformes that includes sand tiger sharks, great white sharks, goblin sharks and others, Frederickson said.

After poring over the literature, Frederickson found a description of a similar shark vertebra that was unearthed in 1997 in the Kiowa Shale in Kansas, which also dates to about 100 million years ago. That vertebra came from a shark that was up to 32 feet (9.8 meters) long.

By comparing the new vertebra with the one from Kansas, the team concluded the Texas shark was likely the same species as the Kansas specimen. The Texan could have been at least 20.3 feet (6.2 m) long, though that is a conservative estimate, Frederickson said. (Still, the Texas shark would have been no match for the biggest shark that ever lived, the 60-foot-long, or 18 m, Megalodon.)

By analyzing similar ecosystems from the Mesozoic Era, the team concluded the sharks in both Texas and Kansas were probably Leptostyrax macrorhiza. Previously, the only fossils from Leptostyrax that paleontologists had found were teeth, making it hard to gauge the shark’s true size. The new study, which was published today (June 3) in the journal PLOS ONE, suggests this creature was much bigger than previously thought, Frederickson said.

Still, it’s not certain the new vertebrae belonged to Leptostyrax, said Kenshu Shimada, a paleobiologist at DePaul University in Chicago, who unearthed the 1997 shark vertebra.

“It is also entirely possible that they may belong to an extinct shark with very small teeth so far not recognized in the present fossil record,” Shimada, who was not involved in the current study, told Live Science. “For example, some of the largest modern-day sharks are plankton-feeding forms with minute teeth, such as the whale shark, basking shark and megamouth shark.”

Either way, the new finds change the picture of the Early Cretaceous seas.

Previously, researchers thought the only truly massive predators of the day were the fearsome pliosaurs, long-necked, long-snouted relatives to modern-day lizards that could grow to nearly 40 feet (12 m) in length. Now, it seems the oceans were teeming with enough life to support at least two top predators, Frederickson said.

As for the ancient shark’s feeding habits, they might resemble those of modern great white sharks, who “eat whatever fits in their mouth,” Frederickson said. If these ancient sea monsters were similar, they might have fed on large fish, baby pliosaurs, marine reptiles and even full-grown pliosaurs that they scavenged, Frederickson said.

Beach visitors save injured hammerhead shark


This video from the USA says about itself:

Brothers Save Hammerhead Shark. Destin, Florida 2015

21 July 2015

Me and my brother fight to save an injured hammerhead shark on the Destin, FL shoreline and bravely took it to safety away from the public. My brother, once realizing it was injured, swam out to bring it to shore away from people still in the water. I filmed this heroic display as he dragged the injured 10 ft. hammerhead to shore. The shark was pulled to shore and we realized it had several deep sea fishing hooks in its mouth as well as steel fishing line tangled in and around its head. My brother, along with help from bystanders worked to get the hooks out and save the dying shark. My brother was able to pull the shark into deeper water until it was able to swim away safely in an attempt to avoid further injuring itself or the public.

All of the distress and yelling heard in the background were caused by a natural fear from certain individuals and lack of understanding the situation as well as the behaviors of hammerhead sharks. Once bystanders realized we were trying to help the shark they quickly did what they could to help

Shot on a GoPro Hero 3+ and iPhone 5

From WJHG.com in Florida in the USA:

Visitors Help Hammerhead Shark

Tue 9:51 PM, July 21, 2015

By: Zak Dahlheimer

DESTIN– UPDATE: 7/21/15 6:24 P.M.

Marcus and Logan Lakos try to make it down to the Panhandle for the summer every year.

But this year’s visit they say came with a catch.

Marcus captured his younger brother Logan pulling an injured hammerhead shark to shore at Henderson Beach State Park Monday, where they eventually removed two hooks and a lure from its mouth.

And now with battle scars after pulling the shark to shore, Logan says it was a wave of adrenaline that came over him, looking out for his mother also in the water.

“I started pulling it in and it was kind of scary, but hammerhead sharks aren’t really that dangerous to humans,” said Logan. “Knowing that, I pulled it in. Everyone else was freaking out so it was hard to bring him in. But once people started realizing we were trying to help it, some of the other guys around were all crowding around it and trying to help it.”

When he saw his brother going to save the shark, Marcus says his first instinct was to get this on video.

“I’m just like, ‘I’m going to grab my camera,'” said Marcus. “Because Logan, he’s the brave one. He’s swimming out trying to help grab it, so I wanted to grab whatever I can on film since I’m the film person. I’m sitting there, and out of nowhere, he’s dragging this thing onto shore.”

After originally pulling it onshore, both brothers say the shark ended up swimming back out into the water. After that they say they went about 50 to 100 feet down the beach, where they ended up pulling the two hooks and lure out of the shark’s mouth.

Both brothers say they’ve received praise from people who witnessed the event.

But Logan says it was really about grabbing life by the tail.

“If you see a shark out in the water, it’s not always a bad thing to grab your camera and enjoy one of nature’s greatest creatures,” said Logan.

Logan says the shark did not appear to have any other injuries after the hooks are lure were removed.

Marcus Lakos and his brother, Logan, were visiting Destin from Texas when they saw a hammerhead shark swimming near the beach.

They say Logan noticed something hanging out from the shark’s mouth and pulled it by its tail to the shore.

With the help of a few bystanders, Logan took out what appears to be a steel hook from a deep sea fishing line that was caught in the shark’s mouth.

Both brothers say they know something about sharks, Logan is an avid fisherman, and say they had an idea the shark would not hurt them.

Indonesian fish and coral research


Whale shark

November 2011. Read here about marine research in Indonesia: tagging whale sharks, maybe new fish species discovered, and coral.

Tiger sharks studied


This July 2015 video from the USA says about itself:

Tiger Shark Sinks its Teeth Into Scientific Study

In this video, a tiger shark investigates and eventually bites an underwater hydrophone set up by scientists at the University of Miami to study tiger shark movements.

This is part of a larger collaborative research project on the behavior and ecology of tiger sharks in the subtropical Atlantic Ocean.

To learn more visit: SharkTagging.com.

Read more in National Geographic.

Sharks like death metal music


This video says about itself:

Sharks Love Death Metal

9 July 2015

The team trades chum for music, hoping to strike a chord with nearby great whites. Luckily (or not), great whites have an ear for death metal.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Death metal music attracts sharks, documentary crew finds out

The low, rumbling frequencies of death metal mimic the sounds of struggling fish

Doug Bolton

Friday 10 July 2015

A documentary film crew hit upon a novel technique to attract great white sharks – blasting death metal through an underwater speaker.

The Discovery Channel crew, filming for the Shark Week show Bride of Jaws, were on the hunt for a large great white, wonderfully nicknamed ‘Joan of Shark’.

Desperate to feature the 16-foot, 1.6 tonne shark in their documentary, they submerged a speaker to see if the shark would react. Unfortunately they didn’t manage to attract Joan, but did catch the attention of two others, one of which was 12 feet long.

Sharks ‘hear’ by picking up vibrations from receptors on their bodies, meaning they can be attracted to the low-frequency vibrations of heavy music, which apparently sounds like struggling fish.

It’s an odd tactic, but one that’s apparently well-known by shark hunters. Matt Walller, a shark tour operator in Australia, found out that AC/DC records caused sharks to change their behaviour.

When he played the tunes from underwater speakers, the sharks swam straight up to his boat, brushing their heads against the submerged diving cage.

Other than being a boon for metal fans on shark tours, using music, instead of bait, could be more environmentally friendly.

Read more: A close call with a Great White

Surfer films his near miss with a huge shark

Great white sharks – the misunderstood giants

Filmmakers and shark-spotters usually use chum, a mix of fish parts, bones and blood, to attract sharks. By reducing the amount of chum they give to the sharks, humans will be able to reduce their impact on the shark’s natural behaviour.

And concerns that luring sharks with bait can draw them closer to human occupied shores means Pine Knoll Shores, a town on the coast of North Carolina, is currently debating whether to ban the practice, due to eight people already being bitten by sharks in the area this summer.

If the practice of attracting sharks with death metal spreads, record labels could find a lucrative new niche market.

This video says about itself:

Turning Tides: Towards a Bluer Tomorrow | WCS Gala 2015

11 June 2015

While oceans cover 70 percent of the world’s surface, only one percent is truly protected. We depend on the oceans for our food, our livelihoods, our lives. WCS has been a leader in marine scientific discovery and conservation for more than 100 years. In this short video, we lay out our vision to protect 10% of the worlds oceans by 2020. Join us as we turn the tides towards a bluer tomorrow.

Polynesian rare birds news


This 2012 video says about itself:

Polynesian Ground Dove (Gallicolumba erythroptera) filmed on a motu of Rangiroa Atoll, French Polynesia. Part of a Noble Caledonia Expedition Cruise in French Polynesia on board M/V Clipper Odyssey.

Dr Brent Stephenson (ornithologist on board) organised this trip across the atoll to a rat-free motu (islet) where the Société d’Ornithologie Polynésie (MANU) are making great efforts to monitor, protect and extend the present habitat of this bird. Great efforts are made to make sure no rats are introduced. The Polynesian Ground Dove is critically endangered with only an estimated 100-200 individuals in the world. Nine birds were counted on this motu in 2011.

From BirdLife:

Operation Restoration – island update #4 – Endangered birds found, and sharks

By Shaun Hurrell, Fri, 26/06/2015 – 10:30

The Critically Endangered Polynesian Ground-dove is one of the world’s rarest birds. Named Tutururu by locals, there are only about 100 of these birds left in the world – all found in French Polynesia.

So finding them in good numbers on an invasive predator-free atoll was pretty exciting for our Operation Restoration team – who are working hard to save these birds (and many more native species) from extinction, and restore the natural ecological balance of the islands. It gives a very positive indicator of how these birds will bounce back after we have finished restoring their islands. But these birds still need your help.

With a huge amount of work still to do to restore 6 remote islands in the Acteon and Gambier archipelagos, this would have undoubtedly been a big morale boost for Steve Cranwell and the team, especially when faced with sharks snapping at their heels!

Find out more in the latest update below from Steve Cranwell, Project Leader and invasive species expert:

Steve’s reports via satelite phone 19th June

Sorry for the delay in communications – the magnitude of the practical reality of this operation set in, and we have been extremely busy fulfilling the myriad of tasks for this ambitious restoration effort! Amazingly (given all that could go wrong) we’re on track.

The ground team and helicopter crew, assisted by locals at each site, soon developed a slick and efficient operation for loading, whilst managing to keep loose bags and other paraphernalia potentially catastrophic to the helicopter in check…

This ground effort and precision flying meant that by the time we got to Vahanga and Tenania we were able to complete the operations there in half the time anticipated!

Some of the team spent the first week or so searching for Tutururu [local name for Polynesian Ground-dove] and Titi [local name for Tuamotu Sandpiper] on Vahanga. Despite being elusive, the efforts were rewarded with one male (named Charlie) and female Tutururu, and four Titi.

Some other team members have stayed on Tenararo to complete a census of Tutururu and Titi. This is the first time such a thorough assessment will have been made for this predator-free atoll. Initial reports indicate good numbers of both species.

When a lagoon channel crosses a monitoring transect, as it invariably does, there is a little adventure as overly attentive Blacktip reef sharks make a beeline for any submerged body part! Alertness and a stout stick has proved a sufficient deterrent (so far)…

On Temoe, a seabird census and vegetation survey was completed and a significant increase in Murphy’s petrel (several hundred to over one thousand!) was noted, from a similar survey made several years earlier.

Baseline surveys are being made for all sites which are being augmented with acoustic recorders as a means of tracking changes in the number of calls for species of interest.

More to follow shortly!

On behalf of us all,

Steve

Update 29 July 2015: here.

Gigantic shark from the dinosaur age discovered


This 2011 video says about itself:

Effects of Climate Change on Cretaceous Sharks

From PLOS ONE:

A Gigantic Shark from the Lower Cretaceous Duck Creek Formation of Texas

Joseph A. Frederickson, Scott N. Schaefer, Janessa A. Doucette-Frederickson

Published: June 3, 2015

Abstract

Three large lamniform shark vertebrae are described from the Lower Cretaceous of Texas. We interpret these fossils as belonging to a single individual with a calculated total body length of 6.3 m. This large individual compares favorably to another shark specimen from the roughly contemporaneous Kiowa Shale of Kansas.

Neither specimen was recovered with associated teeth, making confident identification of the species impossible. However, both formations share a similar shark fauna, with Leptostyrax macrorhiza being the largest of the common lamniform sharks. Regardless of its actual identification, this new specimen provides further evidence that large-bodied lamniform sharks had evolved prior to the Late Cretaceous.