Sharks That Glow

I admit that part of me still feels a thrill of terror when seeing the trademark fin. Perhaps it’s seeing a commercial of the Jaws ride as a kid. Or maybe it’s the fear of all of those teeth. But I have felt dried shark skin on a wall at a museum and have not cut myself. And I have walked over sharks on another museum and came out intact on the other end.

It’s Shark Week, and wrapping up with tales of attacks in the deep, or about the mysteries that we haven’t discovered. Some sharks are rumored to live for hundreds of years. Others land on tourist beaches, and threaten those that go swimming at dawn. Either way, there’s a mystery.

Let’s say that if you want to avoid a shark attack, don’t go swimming late at night or early in the morning. Don’t enter the waves if you have a paper cut because of blood in the water attracts them. Make sure a lifeguard or supervisor for snorkeling is on duty. Avoid swimming near fishermen or people with spearfishing. Even so, you are more likely to die in a car accident than shark bite.

Sharks get a bad rep. We have to admit that. They are fish that want to be left alone to eat fish, seal, and not get their fins cut off for soup. Steven Spielberg when filming Jaws had to use a robot, and even the robot refused to cooperate most of the time. Bruce the shark didn’t want to behave for the cameras. Most real-life sharks don’t want the bad publicity either.

Finding The Light

The remarkable thing about this new species of shark is that they glow in the dark. An American pocket shark can secrete this bioluminescence to lure in prey. While it obviously won’t glow while out of the water, it certainly will while deep in the ocean. It can find a way to make light, to lure in the fish who seek it.

Also, the American pocket shark is tiny. As CNN shows, a person can hold it comfortably. Unlike other sharks, with sleek bodies and pointed finds, the fish has a rounded head and looks more like a whale.

If a shark can make light where the darkness reigns supreme, then so can we. Humans are good at making pocketfuls of light, as depraved individuals rally masses to enact genocidal policies.

Honestly, times are scary right now. I imagine the natural world is fretting implicitly about the impending apocalypse. And yet, there are pocket sharks glowing in the ocean. If sharks could survive what happened to the dinosaurs, then we can at least find a reason to keep lights in our jeans pockets.


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