Shark Week Jumps The Shark: An Open Letter To Discovery Communications

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Dear Discovery Communications,

I have to say, I had high hopes for this year’s Shark Week. But we’re only one special in and already, shark week has seriously jumped the shark.


I get why you had a special about C. megalodon. What shark inspires more fear and fascination than Megalodon, the Chondrichthyean monster that once dominated our planet’s oceans? The shark’s name, which translates to “giant tooth”, says it all. Their hand-sized dental records are some of the only fossilized evidence we have of these gigantic predators, which lived from ~50 million years ago to around 2 million years ago. Based on their size, scientists have estimated these sharks grew to upwards of 60 feet long with a bite force anywhere between 10 and 18 tons, and from scarred fossils we know they likely dined on the giant whales of their time. This year’s Shark Week kick-off special, Megalodon: The Monster Shark That Lives, claimed to provide evidence that these massive beasts are still out there, using scattered anecdotes and scientific testimony to support the assertion. There’s only one problem: the entire “documentary” wasn’t real.

No whale with a giant bite taken out of it has ever washed up here in Hawaii. No fishing vessel went mysteriously missing off of South Africa in April. No one has ever found unfossilized Megalodon teeth. Collin Drake? Doesn’t exist. The evidence was faked, the stories fabricated, and the scientists portrayed on it were actors. The idea that Megalodon could still be roaming the ocean is a complete and total myth.

Here’s what I don’t get, Discovery: Megalodons were real, incredible, fascinating sharks. There’s a ton of actual science about them that is well worth a two hour special. 

Written By: Christie Wilcox
continue to source article at blogs.discovermagazine.com

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  1. When I saw the thumbnail on the News group, I thought this was a story related to the Discovery Institute.

    I expect lies from that organization, but for the Discovery Channel to perpetrate such BS is deeply troubling.

    The Discovery Channel has endangered its very existence by making this “documentary”

    Every reputable scientist will now be considering what collaborating with them may do for their professional reputation, and many programmes will now not be made unless a thorough house-cleaning of everyone responsible for this takes place, and soon.

    Peer review applies to all science, not just the written word.

  2. Guess I wasn’t the only person annoyed by this. You could tell about a minute into it that the “scientist” were actors and the washed up whale was computer generated. It’s a sad state that educational nature channels are in right now but for anyone worried about more ancient alien shows or fictionalized nature programs coming out, fear not. They’ll all be replaced by hill billy moonshining shows within a year or two.

  3. I thought at first we might be discussing the Discovery Institute and their thinly-disguised (if ludicrous) agenda to convince us that men and dinosaurs lived happily together round about the year before last.

    Shame on the Discovery Channel. Another “educational” resource to keep my kids the hell away from. Imbeciles.

    • In reply to #3 by Stevehill:

      I thought at first we might be discussing the Discovery Institute and their thinly-disguised (if ludicrous) agenda to convince us that men and dinosaurs lived happily together round about the year before last.

      Shame on the Discovery Channel. Another “educational” resource to keep my kids the hell away from…

      If only Australia’s Better International would pull Mythbusters out from their deal with the lamentable Disco Channel and flog it globally themselves we might then get to see it on channels with decent sized audiences. Then the sorry hollow shell of a channel could be taken up by the Disco Institute to put on programs about the irreducible complexity of the banana. Dammit it could rival Comedy Central!

  4. National Geographic pumps out documentaries that dissemble and lie to support the Christian story. I canceled a subscription I had for my nephew and niece.

    NOVA sometimes puts out some questionable stuff. The reason may be that Charles H. Koch is a major funder.

    I is quite depressing when such organisations sell their souls to the dark side.

  5. I think the First Amendment is seriously due for an update to put a stop to the abuse of it: The right of freedom of speech and press should also demand the responsibility of being truthful.

  6. I stopped watching/downloading anything at all from Discovery, History channel and Nat Geo a long time ago – they are basically crap. The other day I broke my rule and watched Nat Geo’s Wild Thailand because it featured some places I’d been to. Here’s a quote from the ‘documentary': “This is a gibbon, though it looks like a monkey it is, in fact, a primate”, absolutely disgusting. It’s PBS and BBC all the way, why bother with the ‘triad of crap’. Very sad.

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