I'm a little late on this, but this week is Shark Week, an annual week of shark programming on Discovery. I love sharks, so everyone always thinks that I also love Shark Week, but the truth is, I have a love/hate relationship it. Why do I love? Because sharks! Why do I hate it? Well, that's a much longer answer. In recent years, Discovery has been heavily criticized for the documentaries they show during Shark Week. Last year, the Washingtonian did a great piece on why scientists don't like Shark Week. The reasons range from Discovery focusing too much on shark attacks (which is a term scientists don't prefer) and Discovery falsifying their documentaries (the main one being "Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives," which suggested that megalodons are not extinct after all) to Discovery misleading the scientists they ask to participate in their documentaries and not including much science at all in some shows.
David Shiffman, a marine biologist studying shark feeding ecology and conservation, is one of the most vocal critics of Shark Week. Each year, he watches the shows aired during Shark Week and Tweets his comments about them. His Tweets are always fun to read, like the one he wrote about ocras and sharks.
No orca don't eat shark orca what u doin' no orca stahhhhhp #SharkWeek— David Shiffman (@WhySharksMatter) June 30, 2016
And this one:
"The oceanic whitetip is almost certainly responsible for thousands of human deaths" Um based on what? #SharkWeek— David Shiffman (@WhySharksMatter) June 30, 2016
And this one:
There is no "Mystery of the Oregon great whites." You personally not knowing something that scientists know is not a "mystery" #SharkWeek— David Shiffman (@WhySharksMatter) June 30, 2016
But they're also more serious sometimes, and definitely informative.
Dolphins and sharks do NOT "usually avoid each other," they're often in the same place. Why? Because there's food there. #SharkWeek— David Shiffman (@WhySharksMatter) June 30, 2016
Worth noting that they're "surrounded by oceanic whitetip sharks" because they intentionally went swimming in an OWT hotspot... #SharkWeek— David Shiffman (@WhySharksMatter) June 30, 2016
"Thousands of people have died in shipwrecks, lets imply that Oceanic Whitetip sharks killed a lot of them, why not?" #SharkWeek— David Shiffman (@WhySharksMatter) June 30, 2016
Sometimes, reading Shiffman's Tweets about Shark Week is more fun than actually watching Shark Week. At any rate, it's always a good idea to do your own research when watching Shark Week, especially if you want to watch the shows that are the most accurate. Shiffman wrote about which shows to watch this year, so I'm hoping he'll do that again next year.
And, if you just can't get enough of sharks, here are some great titles the library has.
Zebra Sharks by Nico Barnes
The Great White Shark Scientist by Sy Montgomery
Goblin Sharks by Elizabeth Thomas
Smithsonian Channel: Shark Collection
A Pocket Guide to Sharks of the World by David A. Ebert
Demon Fish: Travels Through the Hidden World of Sharks by Juliet Eilperin