Yesterday I watched A Serbian Film, which is fully intended to shock the audience and leave them disgusted with how depraved humanity can be (or the Serbian government, so the makers claim). Watching it did not shock me, I'm just not easily fazed. But this did:
Shark finning is a massive industry, with shark's fins being used for the eponymous shark fin soup. One of the annoying things is that the fins add no flavour, only a texture which is used more or less as a status symbol. Sharks are being killed in their millions, with potential irrevocable damage to the ecosystems in our oceans. But the most disgusting thing, to me at least, is that they throw the sharks back into the water without their fins, where they sink to the bottom and die.
I sadly missed a lecture on sharks recently, so I can't say much about them, though a look at their dermal denticles should show one of the many incredible facets of this beautiful group of animals which has been around for hundreds of millions of years. Dermal denticles are little tooth-like structures in the skin of sharks. They help provide streamlining, so running your hand from the head to toe of a shark feels really smooth; run your hand in the opposite direction and you will get a nasty little surprise - it is really jagged. Some shark denticles are very elaborate and make beautiful fossils, though you would need a microscope to truly appreciate them. Even though I know little about sharks I still have a favourite, meet Stethacanthus: