Yesterday, the trailer for “the Meg” was released online. This movie is based on a popular book series that claims that megalodon is actually not extinct, just hiding. (I’m in the 4th book).
I have a love-hate relationship with movies like this, by which I mean that I love them and I hate myself for loving them. While movies like “Jaws” had a measurable negative effect on public perception of sharks, I don’t believe that more obviously ridiculous movies like SharkNado have a similar effect. Jason Statham playing a marine biologist in a movie that includes Rainn Wilson? Sign me up.
If not for the people who believe that these movies are real and therefore decide to yell at marine biologists on twitter about it, I’d be all for this. Let’s be totally clear here- Carcharocles megalodon is extinct, and here’s how we know. Shark Week lied to you about it. Actresses from this movie asking about it are not experts. This movie is completely fictional. You can certainly watch it and enjoy it, but please don’t cite it as evidence that a 50 foot long whale-eating shark that used to live in shallow coastal waters near what are now populated areas is not extinct.
Anyway, here is a scene-by scene breakdown of what’s in the first trailer. From it, we can tell that this is an action-packed movie with a great cast that does not stick too closely to the books, and is also not particularly interested in scientific accuracy even with respect to issues unrelated to the “giant extinct animals are actually not extinct”central conceit.
On January 1, 2016, the Southern Fried Science central server began uploading blog posts apparently circa 2041. Due to a related corruption of the contemporary database, we are, at this time, unable to remove these Field Notes from the Future or prevent the uploading of additional posts. Please enjoy this glimpse into the ocean future while we attempt to rectify the situation.
Last April I did something dumb. As longtime readers no doubt know, in the last few years the April Fools pranks between me and David Shiffman have gotten… excessive. After he had my favorite dog cloned a dozen times (thanks for that, buddy, they’re all doing great), I had to step up my game. Well, it looks like all these years of continuously one-upping each other, we have finally found the upper limit.
David has been railing against the non-existence of Megalodon for decades. It is the myth that will not die. Ages ago, I naively thought after Shark Week 2015 and our paper, we would finally be done with the Megalodon Conspiracy, but, unlike its namesake, the legend persists.
So, early last year I used CRISPR-CRASS to do something I’ve always wanted to try. With the help of some students, who will remain unnamed, I de-extincted Carcharocles megalodon and quietly deposited it in one of his unused behavioral test tanks. He returned from the field to discover that, finally, the monster shark lives.
We thought it was hilarious. A couple months later, I wrote about the process of garage de-extinction for Mouthfeedr (seriously, how cool is it that you can bring a species back from oblivion with the tools available in a modestly well-equipped bio-shack?). Read More
This time of year, it’s appropriate to think of things to be thankful for. This being an ocean-focused blog, I’d like to share something ocean-related that I’m thankful for, and hopefully spread a little Ocean Optimism in the process. What I’m thankful for is that Carcharocles megalodon is extinct. This may not seem like cause for optimism, but honestly the present-day ocean and Megalodon are better off without each other. And while we may not have 50-foot sharks around anymore (at least not the superpredatory kind), there are actually a lot of species we know and love that have either outlasted Megalodon or are only around because the big beast isn’t around anymore.