Ancient sharks, not only sub-par, but also pretty gross

If you’re still unconvinced by previous meditations into the sub-par-ody of sharks, consider this study, reported over at Laelaps:

The simplest explanation was that the shark (or sharks) which left the marks had been intentionally trying to eat the feces. “From the curvature of the toothmarks and their positions on the specimens,” Godfrey and Smith write, “we reason that the majority of the fecal masses were in the sharks’ mouths.”

via Laelaps

Yup, David’s legendary ancient sharks ate poo.

~Southern Fried Scientist

Godfrey, S., & Smith, J. (2010). Shark-bitten vertebrate coprolites from the Miocene of Maryland Naturwissenschaften DOI: 10.1007/s00114-010-0659-x

*The preceding post has absolutely nothing to do with shark conservation.


  1. WhySharksMatter · March 18, 2010

    I might suggest reading the Laelaps article further. The very next sentences after the one you posted:

    “Yet, strangely, the coprolites were not ingested. Even though tiger sharks have often been cast as indiscriminate when it comes to food there has been no indication that they have ever deliberately eaten feces, and so the authors looked for a different explanation…The shark could have left impressions of the feces inside the crocodile during this stage of the attack or after the viscera of the crocodile had become exposed…The pattern of the bite marks and the fact that the feces were not ingested is consistent with a reconstruction in which, during an attack on another animal, the shark either bit through the body wall and guts to leave the tooth impressions or bit the intestines after disemboweling its prey. Such an attack would have left tooth marks on the feces, which probably fell out of the intestine shortly afterward, hence “In this scenario, the shark chose not to eat the feces, which drifted away, settled out of sight, or otherwise avoided attention.”

    • Southern Fried Scientist · March 19, 2010

      While your facts are all completely correct, I totally disagree with your conclusions. Anthropogenic Global Warming is real and there is no serious debate among climate scientists.

    • WhySharksMatter · March 19, 2010

      Also, though sharks aren’t doing it, eating poop is ecologically important. There have been animals around for a few hundred million years at this point, and I for one don’t want to live in a world that’s covered in poop.

    • Southern Fried Scientist · March 19, 2010

      Anthropogenic Global Warming is real, Dave.

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