A cautionary note about Shark Week

Discovery Channel's Shark Week 2013 is just beginning, but concerns about the approach Discovery Channel has taken this week has already been questioned by scientists and the general public. Be sure you have the accurate information before heading back to the classroom this fall, as many of our students are huge fans of Shark Week.

The first special of Shark Week focuses on the Megalodon - an extinct creature, which is not "alive and well" and attacking humans as shown on Sunday evening. We encourage you read this thoughtful and detailed editorial titled "Shark Week Jumps The Shark: An Open Letter To Discovery Communications," and another article that provides clarity, titled "Shark Week bites: Discovery criticized for hugely misleading documentary." It is not surprising that the day after this special aired, "World’s largest group of shark scientists calls on AP and Reuters to resist using the phrase “shark attacks”".

For information on the "Megalodon," visit the Cleveland Museum of Natural History website (and museum, if you live close enough!), Florida Museum of Natural History, and articles by the Smithsonian on "The Shark That Will Give You More Nightmares Than Jaws" and "Shark Teeth Tell Great White Shark Evolution Story."

For general shark information, visit the NOAA Fisheries website for articles, photos, and video interviews with shark scientists. There is also a post on the National Geographic website titled, "Like Shark Week, But With Actual Facts."