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Great Scat

March 28, 2011

Torah Kachur

Confirming my frequent musings that all biologists do is collect pooh - scientists from the Georgia Aquarium are absolutely head over tail for a video of a shark defecating.  Do you really need to ask? Of course it's on YouTube.

 

 

 

If this video wasn't incredible enough for a realization/reminder of just how big these scary predators are, it's amazing for the fact that shark pooh is yellow.  Yellow!  That can't be healthy. 

 

The samples collected near this massive shark will give biologists (aka scatologists)  samples for DNA testing to figure out what constitutes a shark diet (besides surfers) and where that diet came from.  Also, in the course of day, thousands of intestinal cells are sloughed off into the digestive tract and so scientists can perform detailed analysis of the genotype of this particular individual.  It is actually a gold mine of information for a scientist.  The scientific community was also left a-flutter in 2008 when a whale shark pooed and it was also caught on film.  It's not a shark, but a fish and there is no hope of finding a chunk of a boogie board or anchor in their scat, but it was equally as informative.

 

And, when a shark defecates, it is actually a dinner bell for thousands of fish around it.  Hence the race to follow the pooh-plume by the school of fish in the video.  Organisms can spend their entire lives living off the shit of others - and this isn't just the definition of a politician.  Many organisms like pigs can live off the dung of other animals that are primarily herbivores.  Plants are a very difficult carbon source to digest and often much of the useful organic carbon is left only partially digested and absorbed by the first pass through a digestive tract.  Something like a pig or hamster or even gorillas can follow along, munch on some dung and get a pretty good source of carbon.  Yummy.

 

But my favorite part of this video - is the exclamations of Mhmhmmhmm!!! and Mmmhhhhhmmmm!  by the divers.  I concur.

 

Science in Seconds Great White Shark Defecation Torah Kachur

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