Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Drudown - Smartest Chap in the Industry

An artists recent rendering of "Drudown"
From time to time we enjoy watching battles unfold over industry videos and images that depict less than credible things done with sharks on a commercial level.

The battle lines tend to run predictably with online quotes by industry types, photographers, and one sparkling industry source, "Drudown."

Who Drudown is remains a mystery, and we guess that's for a reason. But if you happen to be a fan of reason, and we are, his words resonate against a backdrop of weekend sharkies who have done a few sharks trips and have seen Shark Week and therefore are experts on sharks.

They may even have a few images of sharks wrapping knife edged teeth around expensive housings making them the most dangerous of commentators - the shark fanatic.

We only preface this by placing Drudowns latest post as prima facie evidence of smart, intelligent thinking about human interactions with sharks. Sans the moronic sound bytes of the shark fanatics who more often than not get sidelined with the small minded "falling coconuts and lightning strike" analogies of the shark/human interaction space.

Here's Drudown on a recent video making the rounds:


I find it humorous that the person claiming to divine from the video that "tiger sharks can be friendly, seeking out interaction with humans because they enjoy the touch that stimulates their ampullae of lorenzini and induces a trance-like state" would allege human/predator data (i.e., re food rewards) observed from Animal Planet is somehow unscientific, i.e., the data is the data, regardless of the medium it is relayed. In contrast, the video on this thread does not provide data to support your claims. First, sharks are only put in a trance-like state when turned upside down. Second, Tiger sharks have no cognitive or emotional ability to be "friends" with any creature and have been known to eat their own young. The feelings of "connection" that spring from Kin Selection are inapplicable to pelagic sharks. That is undisputed science.

With regards to your speculative theory that Tiger sharks "enjoy" the interaction, it is likewise as unscientific as "mistaken identity" theory. I'm a lawyer too, and- aside from speculative shark theory not being subject to the scientific method- I find it very telling that the "justification" or "explanations" proffered are inadmissible in a court of law. Namely, just as the Dog Whisperer (Cesar Millan) cannot take an oath and testify as to "why" a Pit Bull attacked a person, so too, is xxx unable to testify as to what a Tiger or Bull shark thinks when it attacked Sergei Zaloukaev or any of the hundred Haitian victims devoured when their sailboat sank on May 4, 2007 in the Florida Straits (not too far from the Bahamas)... nor accurately control "risk" of an attack when one arrives for a free handout at his commercial tours. 

In other words, if a very hungry Tiger shark arrived on the scene after a long migration, the operator is attracting a dangerous predator. Like I have said previously, people are free to assume whatever risks they want. But citing to the statistical infrequency of shark attacks is somewhat misleading insofar that our oceans fish stocks are being depleted at an alarming rate. Climate change works and is. Coupled with attracting large and aggressive sharks to compete over a paltry amount of food, I think people grossly underestimate the actual distribution of risks and are very misleading about why sharks are dangerous. They are generalist feeders. They are unpredictable. They are known to prey on people in the same geographical area, albeit typically under different conditions such as a maritime disaster. Nevertheless, all that is science. 

How's this. If someone (as they probably do) were to organize tours in Tanzania to see the Chimpanzees, the same analysis would be necessary and proper. Like Tiger/Bull/White sharks, Chimpanzees are potentially DANGEROUS towards humans and it is because they eat meat- including ours. I don't care if Jane Goodall is your tour guide, she can't protect you from ravenous Chimpanzees any more than xxx can protect people from sharks without the benefit of a cage. 

Res ipsa loquitur.

All we have to say is...God Bless you sir, whoever you are.
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