A recent smattering of shark attacks in the shallow waters of the Egyptian resort city Sharm el-Sheikh has visitors in a state of JAWS-like panic. The sharks (now known to be individuals of at least two different species) attacked five times over six days, killing a German tourist and severely injuring four others.
The state of panic is a fertile breeding ground for conspiracy theories. One Sharm el-Sheikh diver named Captain Mustafa Ismail believes that the sharks were trained to attack Egyptians by the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad. He explained his theory to Egypt Today (as retold by Ahram Online):
When asked by the anchor how the shark entered Sharm El Sheikh waters, he burst out, “no, it’s who let them in?” Urged to elaborate, Ismail said that he recently got a call from an Israeli diver in Eilat telling him that they captured a small shark with a GPS planted in its back, implying that the sharks were monitored to attack in Egypt’s waters only. “Why would these sharks travel 4000 km and not have any accidents until they entered Sinai waters?” asked Ismail.
By Mara Grunbaum
To find a mate, most animals must travel—up a tree, down a stream, across the street to the bar. But not barnacles, which spend their entire adult lives cemented firmly to rocks, boats, whales and the like. To compensate for their immobility, barnacles have evolved the longest penises relative to body size in the animal kingdom.
The appendages can reach up to ten times the length of the barnacles’ bodies to allow them to search of a partner. See a video—safe for work!—below.
According to new research published in Marine Biology, the shape of barnacles’ penises varies depending on their circumstances. Barnacles spaced far apart from each other develop stretchier organs, the better for reaching across the gaps, and barnacles exposed to rough waves grow wider ones to stand up against the tide.
The Silurian Period, 425 million years ago: As volcanic ash rained down on proto-England, a sea blob named Drakozoon gave its last. Now, using a computer model, scientists have finally witnessed what the soft-bodied ancient looked like in 3D.
Researchers first found a Drakozoon fossil six years ago in Herefordshire Lagerstätte, home to England’s mother-load of soft-bodied fossils. Such fossils are rare since most of these creatures decompose before a fossil can form.To capitalize on the find, a team chopped the Drakozoon fossil into 200 pieces, photographed those slices, and used a computer to construct a rotatable image of the old softy.
We should probably stop being amazed at the things octopuses can do and just accept that they’re just unfathomably cool (pun fully intended). Case in point: The veined octopus totes around coconut shells that it then hides in. Check out the footage, courtesy of Australia’s Museum Victoria:
Well, folks at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission apparently haven’t given up on the idea. In fact, they’ve spent 75,000 man-hours and $8.6 million making an artificial reef out of a 17,250-ton, 522-foot long retired Navy ship—the same vessel featured in 1999’s Virus with Donald Sutherland and Jamie Lee Curtis.
The ship, USNS General Hoyt S. Vandenberg, took less than two minutes to sink into the depths of the Gulf of Mexico near Key West, thanks to explosives placed strategically inside the bilge area beneath the water.
Seemingly straight out of a science-fiction movie, a fish with tubular eyes and a see-through head discovered off the coast of California.
Researchers in Monterey Bay have released pictures of the first Macropinna microstoma to be found with its “soft transparent dome” intact. The six-inch “barreleye” fish lives more than 2,000 feet below sea level and spends most of its time motionless, but has eyes that can rotate within its head, allowing it to see whatever is directly above it.
NASA researchers have released 90 rubber ducks into the Greenland’s Jakobshavn Glacier—the same glacier that may have sunk the Titanic a century ago—in an attempt to understand why glaciers move faster in the summer and why sea levels change.
Because the Jakobshavn Glacier is known to discharge as much as seven percent of Greenland’s melting icesheets, NASA researchers are specifically interested in knowing how the meltwater moves through the glacier. While they can clearly see how the icebergs fall into the ocean, it’s impossible to see exactly how the water flows. In theory, as the sun warms the ice in the summer, the top layer of the glacier melts and flows through a hole in the glacier until it reaches the other side. As such, the researchers suspect the rubber ducks will end up in the surrounding water in Baffin Bay.
Start spreading the news: Whales want to be a part of New York.
Cornell University researchers have detected whale song in the waters near New York City. The team, led by Chris Clark, hoped to track the migrations of humpback, fin, and North Atlantic right whales on their migrations from their calving waters in Florida to their feeding areas in the waters off New England. This week their detectors, deployed only 13 miles outside the entrance to New York harbor, heard their first traces of the marine mammals singing.
Now that they know some fish can see red, ichthyologists might be a little red in the face.
Because water tends to absorb long wavelengths of visible light, long-wavelength red photons don’t penetrate much past the top 30 feet of ocean. So fish experts had assumed that red just wasn’t part of the underwater world, and fish probably couldn’t see it. But a new study led by German researcher Nico Michiels concluded quite the contrary—numerous species of fish can produce their own red light through luminescence.
If you went to Cheers to pour a few back with Norm and Cliff, could you get a plate of fish and chips? Probably not, if Ted Danson had anything to say about it.
One of the ways that Danson has been keeping busy, now that “Cheers” and “Becker” are long since canceled, is by heading up Oceana, the ocean conservation organization he started two decades ago. Danson is hopping mad that a rare species of shark called the spiny dogfish has been hunted to the brink of extinction, and he faults, for one, the British love affair with fish and chips.