With all the shark sightings, interactions, attacks of late I am perplexed as to why the majority of people hold the belief that shark attacks are generally a case of mistaken identity and that sharks don't want to/mean to attack/eat humans? I can't imagine there is any scientific evidence to support this theory and the only way to prove this would be to ask a shark politely if this was the case. Was just wondering if people could enlighten me as to why this is the general consensus. I have never heard this theory put forward in regards to attacks by any other dangerous animal and was wondering why sharks in people's opinion are the only species who only ever attack humans by "accident"? Doesn't seem to make much sense to me personally.
When you read the media or forums such as this it so common for authors to put human constructs and ideologies onto the shark (great white specifically) and their behavior.
We are talking about a highly evolved and prehistoric predator and any attempt to attach human ideas and construct to such an instinctive, elusive and unpredictable creature to me seems both delusional and irrational.
That is not to say we don't attempt to understand the species better however comments alluding to ideas such as a GW's motivation, thoughts or preferences (to name a few) are completely unfounded and likely way off the mark.
Relevant query Albert,but the old "sillouete of a paddling surfer from below" surely is the reasoning behind the Mistaken Identity theory. GWS aren't particularly smart,but they are curious. Mistakes involving humans happen amongst many predatory species however. There were reports of a young surfer carrying a Zebra-striped Anti -shark surfboard being attacked by a lion while walking through coastal scrub in South Africa some years ago
I dont believe its mistaken identity at all. I believe smaller sharks than 4 metres bight then wait for the prey to bleed out so they dont get injured.
I can see how it happens.
One morning , after a few beers the night before , I mistook a tube of Zovirax for my tiny travelling toothpaste and proceeded to clean my teeth with cold sore cream.
Solitude on the money with anthropomorphising animal behaviours, sensationalist news outlets are particularly guilty of this. Ray and Groundswell both have valid points. If you want to get to the bottom of it, Alby, jump on Google scholar and enter the search terms "mistaken identity" shark, as I've typed it with the inverted commas. You'll get a plethora of material that is peer-reviewed studies and expert opinion. Narrow your search as required from there. In terms of mistaken identity in other species, I think that it's probably pretty widespread, just not as discussed outside behavioural ecologist circles. I don't think it's a topic many would find that interesting outside of behavioural ecologists.
This article on crocodiles provides some interesting parallels with sharks - attacks, living with them, ecological role, indicators of environmental condition. Not the same, of course, but definitely worth a 5min read.
Quote "There is no way of avoiding nor sugarcoating the predatory nature of saltwater crocodiles. If you dive off the Adelaide River bridge, 60 km east of Darwin’s city centre, and start swimming, there is a 100% chance of being taken by a saltwater crocodile. It is not the same as swimming with sharks."
If sharks thought like Crocs we would not be surfing at all.
Here is another good story about a ship carrying over a hundred live salt water crocodiles caught in East Indonesia/Papua and to be smuggled to China..
Free Willy / Can confirm there's Crocs on Enggano !
Crocs on Bangkaru and Tuanku Islands, Banyaks. They got left there at the last glacial maximum (Ice Age )18,000-21,000 years, As the sea levels rose from that point on, they became isolated, as well as many other animals, birds, reptiles etc. The very essence of speciation.
wow i wanted to do a feral trip at cobras and treasure island rights...wont be doing that now.
Geologically, Bangkaru, Tuanku and a very minor piece of Nias are joined to the Sumatran mainland , thus the flora and fauna generally reflects that of the mainland. I’ve seen Brown Squirrels, Indonesia’s version of our goanna, sunbirds and other amazing biota. The two other islands near the former group that I’ve also surfed are Babi and Lasia. Unlike the others mentioned, these islands are not joined to Sumatra, they form from volcanic intrusion up through the sea floor and stick there’re heads up out into our world and develop as their own island and in turn its endemic flora and fauna. These islands are surrounded by very deep water, hence the reason Babi always has waves even in small swells. Amazing bird evolution happening on Babi at this point in time.
Groundswell. Even if there were no crocs, you can’t go feral or camp out on Bangkaru. It’s one of the most important turtle islands on the planet and is
policed by live in park rangers. Besides that the amount of goannas I saw on the island would make living impossible, they are everywhere and into everything. Good luck