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Carcharias [Was Re: Oviraptorids as Parrots?}

dannj@alphalink.com.au wrote:

On Mon, 06 Feb 2006 19:48:01 -0600, Tim Williams wrote

A shark species commonly known as the 'sand tiger' (_Carcharias taurus_) has slender teeth, very much unlike the broad teeth of the tiger shark (_Galeocerdo cuvier_).

We call them 'grey nurse' sharks here in Oz. Being mostly fish eaters, they have mouths full of long slender teeth that are good for catching fish, but extremely inefficient at penetrating testudinate shells. :)

Sand tigers are one of the most docile of shark species...

I'd have thought so too - except that 'sand tigers' are apparently in the top ten species of sharks as far as attacks on humans go (there've even been a surprising number of fatalities).

The placement of sand tigers/ grey nurses/ ragged tooths in the top ten list of 'maneaters' may be a little dated. Every recent piece of info I've found on them stresses their inoffensive nature as far as humans goes. I read once that many attacks previously blamed on _Carcharias taurus_ are now thought to have been the responsibility of large carcharhinids such as the bull shark (_Carcharhinus leucus_) and the bronze shark (_Carcharhinus brachyurus_), or even Great Whites. Correct me if I'm wrong, but there do not seem to be any confirmed reports of attacks by grey nurse sharks on humans in the wild. They are certainly popular as a large shark for aquaria...

Perhaps because of their generally assumed docile nature, divers may be more willing to get closer to these sharks than most. I believe that nearly all attacks on humans are the result of (real or perceived) self defence, rather than deliberate predation.

..or alternatively, the bad reputation is a hangover from days when its 'offensive' nature was presumed from its (admittedly impressive) appearance: http://www.sharkinfo.ch/SI1_00e/ctaurus.html

Um.... dinosaurs...? :)

Well, there are _Carcharias_ teeth in the Cretaceous of Queensland. Funny to think that a very similar animal to something that lived alongside plesiosaurs is still swimming around off the beach where I swim every day...

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Dann Pigdon
GIS / Archaeologist         http://heretichides.soffiles.com
Melbourne, Australia        http://www.geocities.com/dannsdinosaurs

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