A scene-by-scene breakdown of the first trailer of “The Meg”

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.

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This month’s 3D printed reward is a megalodon tooth! Here are 5 things to know about megalodon.

I recently unveiled a new tier of Patreon rewards: 3D printed shark and ray models! For $17 per month, you will get a monthly 3D printed educational model of different shark or ray parts in the mail, and you’ll be supporting my efforts to provide these models to schools for free.

The first month’s reward comes from one of the most (in)famous sharks of all time, Carcharocles megalodon! The first 3D printed Patreon reward is a meg tooth, an exact copy of the meg tooth that has been used to educate thousands of students at UBC’s Beaty Biodiversity Museum!

The original tooth

Here are some things to know about Carcharocles megalodon!

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Meet me in Borneo, exploitation on the high seas, navy sonars, creature reports, and more! Monday Morning Salvage: March 12, 2018.

Happy Monday-est Monday!

Foghorn (A Call to Action!)

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

Tweet about potential confirmation of Amelia Earhart's remains.

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Bone-eating zombie worms, octopus overlords, old wooden ships and new woes for deep-sea mining. It’s the Monday Morning Salvage! January 1, 2018.

Fog Horn (A Call to Action)

  • Stop. Breathe. Take a step back. This can all be incredibly overwhelming. Pick the fight that matters most to you and take a few days deciding what success looks like, what strategies will work, and what tactics are available to you. And then hoist your flag and get to work.

  • And when you meet someone fighting a different fight, remember to support them. There are already enough fronts to advance without taking friendly fire from our flanks.

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

The frilled giant Pacific octopus. Photo Courtesy D. Scheel

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A Mega Apology for Megalodon

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.


brokenLast 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.

brokenWe 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

Fish tales: Combating fake science in popular media

Yesterday, after months of waiting, David and my magnum opus on our efforts to stem the tide of fake documentaries was, at last, made available online: Fish tales: Combating fake science in popular media.

What role should scientist play in correcting bad science, fake science, and pseudoscience presented in popular media? Here, we present a case study based on fake documentaries and discuss effective social media strategies for scientists who want to engage with the public on issues of bad science, pseudoscience, and fake science. We identify two tracks that scientists can use to maximize the broad dissemination of corrective and educational content: that of an audience builder or an expert resource. Finally, we suggests that scientists familiarize themselves with common sources of misinformation within their field, so that they can be better able to respond quickly when factually inaccurate content begins to spread.

The entire paper is published open access and written for a non-specialist audience. Please read, share, and enjoy.

This, incidentally, is the first of two papers this year that were funded, in part, through contributions from my Patreon patrons. To those who have contributed, an extra special Thank You!

Print your own Mighty Megalodon Tooth for #SharkWeek (or #JacquesWeek)

IMG_20150407_155333306Carcharocles megalodon is the largest shark that ever lived. It roamed the oceans from 15 to 2.5 million years ago. Its teeth can be found at fossil beds around the world, but especially in Yorktown and Pungo River formations in the coastal Eastern United States. Megalodon teeth are incredibly useful teaching tools, allowing educators to convey just how massive these animals were and open up discussions about evolution, extinction, and ecology while instilling a sense of wonder.

Now you can print your own piece of prehistory with this 3D printable Megalodon tooth!

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How a 10 Million Year old fossil, a smart phone, and a 3D printer recharged my #OceanOptimism.

3dtootLast week, we launched a novel little experiment in crowdfunding marine science and conservation – Buy David Shiffman a Less Ugly Pair of Sunglasses – ostensibly about replacing David’s legendarily hideous sunglasses with something a bit more aesthetic. Of course, anyone digging into the stretch goals quickly realized that this was less about sunglasses and more about funding some cool research and outreach projects we’re currently working on; projects like a hammerhead conservation genetics analysis, building a marine ecology drone, and sending students from underserved schools of a shark tagging trip. This was made more explicit when we hit our first goal in the first 36 hours of funding.

With the first funding goal achieved, I decided we needed a cool perk, something not particularly expensive to produce but completely novel and cool enough to justify making a heftier donation. And, of course, it needed to be thematically related to the spirit of the project.

Enter the Megalodon.

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How much shark fin soup could you make from an adult megalodon?

Carcharocles megalodon, commonly known as the megalodon, was likely the largest shark that ever lived. I say “was”, because despite claims by certain Discovery Channel “documentaries”, there is absolutely no doubt whatsoever that the megalodon is extinct and has been for millions of years.

It isn’t surprising, though, that the largest shark that ever lived has such an impact on pop culture. Recently, we watched the latest in the spectacular “mega shark vs.” science fiction series, one of my favorite movie series based on extinct giant sharks coming back to life and wreaking havoc on the modern world.  The Southern Fried Scientist, who recently calculated how much Old Bay seasoning you’d need to properly cook the latest Aquaman villain,  asked me how much shark fin soup you could get from an adult megalodon.

Based on my calculations, the answer is about 70,000 bowls of shark fin soup, more than enough for everyone who lives in Greenland to have a bowl. Explaining where this number comes from can tell us a lot abTTout one of the most important ocean conservation issues facing the world today.

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