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Was a Mermaid Skeleton Found in Bulgaria Near Black Sea [pics]

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Mermaid Skeleton

 

Who would have known that these last couple of months everyone would be talking about mermaids and mermaid skeletons?

We first covered mermaids when the Animal Planet released their special, “Mermaids The Body Found.” We covered the story here at our article title, “Animal Planet Mermaids Show Bodies Found That Create Nightmares [pictures & videos].”

The Animal Planet wasn’t the last of the mermaid bodies being found as a new one has surfaced. A man calling himself Professor Dimitrov has released pictures of a skeleton of a woman that is quite apparently a mermaid. The skeleton is very tall and has a fish tail like appearance starting at the hips and goes all the way down into a bony fin.

Some of the websites we found out about this from had to be translated from Bulgarian so it’s not perfect English. This excerpt is from Society.actualno.com and reads, “Ancient skeleton of a mermaid before the Flood 8 millenniums ago was found near Sozopol Beach by Professor Dimitrov. This “news” blew prostarnstvoto Internet. Zevzecite comment that vampires after Dimitrov’s time to start dealing with mermaids , writes Novinar.”

So where did the picture of this female fish or Bulgarian mermaid start? It is said that a journalist shared the photo on his Facebook wall and it went viral after that. The journalist’s name is Petar Genchev. While the story sounds good, we tried to back up the claims and find the specific journalist and his Facebook wall. To no avail we haven’t found the specific post. What we did find was some other information that you’ll see below.

Looking a little deeper, we found out about a website called Worth 1000. It seems this photo might have been from a Photoshop contest and further altered and then spread with a story. What do you think? Is this the real thing or is this another file for Snopes? It just may be that the Animal Planet has spurred a fascination of fooling the public into believing there really are mermaids.

Environmentalist. Consumer Tech Journalist. Science Explorer. And, a dreamer. I've been contributing informative news content since 2010. Follow me on all socials!

50 Comments

50 Comments

  1. Sixty

    August 13, 2014 at 12:17 am

    The oceans will remain to be a mystery, maybe mermaids are there or not, just like MH370, we know it exist but we can’t find it, maybe if we find the plane, we can also find the mermaids! just saying

  2. JAsmine

    May 9, 2014 at 10:43 am

    This aint realllll!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Yemil

    April 11, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    Was this found near an ancient fish and chip shop ? If so, are there any signs of discarded chips or vinegar bottles ? Maybe the date that this mermaid was eaten,if that is indeed possible, could be determined from any old newspaper remains.

  4. JORDI

    February 2, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    lamentablemente he de decirles que se trata de un photo montaje, creanme, yo me dedico a ello, ademas, si realmente fuera una sirena, el craneo es totalmente erroneo, segun la leyenda los huesos de la cabeza tenian una forma determinada para poder nadar o desplazarse en el agua, mas o menos con una cierta cresta que hacia que el agua se desplazara a los lados de la cabeza.

  5. Del

    January 27, 2014 at 10:37 am

    It all seems a bit fishy to me

  6. Tina

    January 22, 2014 at 11:26 pm

    The ‘Half People’ of ancient times are varied and many. Bird-people both angels and Harpies, Fish-people, Equine-people, Bovine people both Minotaur and (I can’t recall the name) like the Centaurs. Not mention the mixed creatures like the Manticor, Chimera, Basalisk and others. Who can truly say what once existed. I keep an open mind.

  7. Tina

    January 22, 2014 at 11:19 pm

    There is more of heaven and earth than can be (dreamt of) explained by your philosophy.

  8. bubba

    December 26, 2013 at 10:02 pm

    its obviously the top of a human and the fin of a dolphin

  9. sarah

    December 18, 2013 at 11:07 pm

    i believe in mermaids coz i

  10. awaz

    December 17, 2013 at 11:14 am

    the picture is fake there are no such thibgs like murmaid.
    if murmaids exist how could they hide themself for that much time.and this a fake someone is trying to make a fool of you.

  11. Billy bob

    December 11, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    Listen you are all arguing over a picture believe what you want to believe… I’m 14 years old and I have more common sense to take the picture and split it into two on a photo shop windows service, this is photo shopped but like many have said more than half of the sea is un discovered… Mermaids may exist they may not, there are millions of species that have yet to be discovered on land let alone the depths of the sea!!

    • Billy bob

      December 11, 2013 at 1:35 pm

      Listen you are all arguing over a picture believe what you want to believe… I’m 14 years old and I have more common sense to take the picture and split it into two on a photo shop windows service, this is photo shopped but like many have said more than half of the sea is un discovered… Mermaids may exist they may not, there are millions of species that have yet to be discovered on land let alone the depths of the sea!! In addition the man is warm the wrong types of clothing to discover this… Have to give it to him though it’s cleaver how he has done it

  12. Jillynn

    November 22, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    dude the skull aint even right thats a human skull. people are so weird. they need to get a life. get a real job

  13. Natasia Faust

    November 14, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    I beileve mermaids are real because exactly 1.5 million of the ocean sea water across the globe has not been fully discovered:) im justttt sayinnngggg

    • hi

      November 17, 2013 at 9:29 am

      uhhh you can see in the tags it says: Bulgarian mermaid, FAKE MERMAID PICTURE, mermaids in Bulgaria, worth 1000 mermaid

  14. Tony

    September 30, 2013 at 11:22 am

    Just because this picture is fake absolutely does not mean that mermaids are not real, nor do they exist. This is very possible, but just like in the video, he said that more of the moon as been explored then most of the ocean. I believe that these are real and i believe that Burnams exhibit of the mermaid in the glass case is very real. Let the believers think what they want and what they know, and for the skeptics, theres more evidence that they do exist..then they dont.

  15. yant

    September 9, 2013 at 3:00 am

    the picture is photoshopped but mermaid existence is not impossible… Doesn’t mean you cannot see the things is not exist…

  16. patient polymath

    June 3, 2013 at 8:09 am

    well, as someone else pointed out, the bones are perfectly arranged, which is a big tip-off….secondly, where evolution is concerned, this sample has a pelvis bone structured for walking, not an aquatic lifestyle. In fact in an aquatic lifestyle, the pelvis bones would be eventually lost, or especially minimized, because there would be genuine need for it compared to bipeds and quadrupeds on land: it would weigh the body down, and ultimately slow the body down for any number of underwater activities. Over time, these bones and leg bones would progressively diminish in size, while muscle activities would take greater need, and therefore In fact the bones in the legs would become useless, compared to the need for a only land-based animals have. In summation, this particular instance is a one of the worst hoaxes I have seen for mermaid, and the photopshop of the picture is poorly done anyway….

    • 1Greensix

      June 30, 2013 at 6:06 pm

      Walking hips. That’s your point. It was theirs, also. You must not have seen the part of the video that was an autopsy of the creature taken from a great white shark’s body. IT had hips that had once been used for walking on land, so it must have evolved from a land animal. And when the DNA sample was sent out for testing the lab said it was human DNA that had been contaminated with other DNA. The two cameras in the submersible at 3000 feet beneath the North Sea is pretty darn convincing also. As is the picture of the exact same creature taken in 1865 of a PT Barnum exhibit (not to be confused with the Fiji Mermaid fake of 1845) and was found in the National Archives. Mermaids are real. Get used to it.

    • 1Greensix

      June 30, 2013 at 6:07 pm

      At to my previous post. That by no means makes the picture above real. IT could be a fake.

    • hi

      November 17, 2013 at 9:18 am

      geez no need for a know it all……

    • hi

      November 17, 2013 at 9:20 am

      THANK YOU SOMEONE BELIEVES IN MERMAIDS

  17. Marie

    May 30, 2013 at 12:47 am

    The bones are too arranged. Bones of the dead are usually not that attached. Too clean.

  18. nami

    May 23, 2013 at 10:26 am

    ok yes the man in the photo is most definitely photoshopped but the picture of the skeleton isn’t and the bone structure is the way it is because it was incased under dirt for years on end so the skeleton isn’t going to be perfect also the joints would b more similar to that of a marine mammal then a human because they have evolved to be able to live in the water so yeah 🙂

  19. Ashley

    July 23, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    Is there any serious question as to whether or not this is photoshoped? The shading of the ‘tail bones’ is abysmal, the pelvis has clearly been brushed over, and look at the HIPS! LOOK AT THEM!! there are pelvic inlets for femur bones…and HIP JOINTS, badly erased or complely forgotten about and left in the picture. The tail phlanges are all kinds of anatomically f*cked up, between being plates and spines and god knows what else.
    Oh, yeah, and the angle…that old fart is apparently Spiderman. this is just bad photoshoping all around, and anyone with even an inkling of artistic knowledge can see that.

  20. tjones

    July 22, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    I believe that this image is photoshopped, as well. Two other websites have published an article about this same story, and both of them make very good points of why it would be photoshopped. The first one, ~~(http://tomverenna.wordpress.com/2012/06/25/searching-for-muses-mermaid-skeleton-found/)~~ says that the man in the picture is standing on a verticle wall!!!! Talented man…..

    The second one ~~(http://www.snopes.com/photos/supernatural/mermaidskeleton.asp)~~ shows a skeleton that was found, that shows a strikingly similar, actually identical, torso and skull.

    However, I believe that mermaids do exist somewhere in the ocean. I think this because Animal Planet showed a documentary titled “Mermaids: The Body Found” This shows very irrefutable evidence that mermaids exist. For you skeptics out there, remember that the moon has been explored more than the deep oceans. And an estimated of only ten percent of the oceans creatures have been discovered.

  21. Faber

    July 18, 2012 at 8:54 am

    PHOTOSHOPPED???? YOU DON”T TELL ME!!!!
    All your irony-shields are up and maxed up, uh??
    Didn’t anyone of you googletranslate the Bulgarian website and noticed it’s a SATIRE website??
    I bet you all can count to potato

  22. HaleyHay

    July 17, 2012 at 10:36 pm

    In case you haven’t already noticed, there is a blur line to our right of the man in the picture where the photographs were cloned together. A picture with that quality wouldn’t have just a few blurry spots with adequate light exposure and a high resolution. Also, has anyone else noticed how the man is standing up, but it’s like he’s next to a cliff or plateau where the “body” was found? It’s like the body is standing up behind the man where it was found. Wouldn’t he stand OVER the body, like it had been dug up from flood from many milleniums ago, not next to it? The body would be sliding down if that much of it was uncovered, especially since there are basically no joints in the skeleton right now.

  23. Denise

    July 17, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    I don’t know what I think because the truth of the matter is that whether all of this “evidence” is real or not, it is true that scientists are searching for more in this world. They can only guess about .. Well everything. No one on this earth can be sure of anything until the day they die. So I say sto being a buzz kill skeptic and believe in something that may seem crazy.. It’s good for the soul!

  24. Damon

    July 16, 2012 at 10:41 am

    Yeah, I agree some people should learn how to speak correctly before they post anything on the internet. About the photo, obviously like previously posted there is a pelvis?!? Doesn’t make sense. Also, we ‘Just discovered’ something that is less than a foot under ground? Not likely. Photoshop, the sand is different color from the top to bottom. And don’t knock the Secret Italian Super-cat! 😉 It’s real!

  25. unbiased

    July 14, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    if the thing wasn’t fake why would it have a human pelvis(with sockets for the femurs)

  26. Mihaela

    July 10, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    Anything can be true even that mermaids are myths but someone made up this myth and who knows,it might be true or not maybe that person made it up ’cause they knew it was true or not,but people don’t really belive in mermaids,so I guess if you don’t see it with your own eyes you’ll never know if it’s true because that skeleton on the picture might just be a piece of art work.

  27. lish

    July 3, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    Have any of you people herd the saying “a closed mind is a trap”? , Do you have any idea how many different new species that are found in the ocean every year? I believe that this picture is photo-shopped… however, to those of you that dismiss the mermaids saying it is impossible for what ever reason should think again. Since we have obviously never found a legitimate corpse we can not know the exact anatomy of a creature like that. And if it lives in the ocean than it would not have the same kind of skin as us, it may look similar, that does not mean it is the same… the Myths came from somewhere. So there has to be some truth to them.

    • nadine

      July 8, 2012 at 2:13 pm

      i totally agree with you and love the way u think this pictures is indeed from a contest on worth 1000 i have an account there and i have seen it. but that does not mean we shouldn’t keep an open mind to the fact that other species live under the sea. this is the same as when people first started imagining landing on the moon everyone said it was impossible and couldn’t happen yet year later it did. and now everyone is saying its impossible for fish with a similar structure to the human skeleton to exist and it could be very true.

  28. Petr Jandacek

    June 28, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    Too perfect to be true – Ergo Conspicuous Fraud…… That being said, consider this Litany of features which Humans share with aquatic mammals and which they do NOT share with other Apes: Like Dolphins & Whales nearly hairless skin; Hair on scalp to protect waders from UV Rays; Extra subcutaneous fat layer; Large Whale-Size brains; Downward pointing nostrils capture air-bubbles; ventrally facing genitalia & ventral to ventral copulation prefered; proclivity towards swimming, Proclivity to hunt & fish to obtain proteins; Use of seashells to make sharp tools (Before Stone-Age); Human foot = very good flipper, apes’ – not so much; Web between 2nd & 3rd toe – NOT between Big Toe & 2nd Toe; Wading (with buoyancy) could be portend of upward walking; More streamlined physique than Gorilla,Chimp,Bonobo, & Orang. For better arguments see DESMOND MORRIS book THE NAKED APE. Also see more such interesting stuff – as you Google Petr Jandacek

  29. shaniqua

    June 27, 2012 at 11:58 am

    ok, first things first yall! there aint no such thang as mermaids! human skin aint made to live in no water, think of how are skin wrinkles when we in da tub too long. and no mammal can live in water less they covered in fat. and mammals that do live in water have lil to no hair, they bald. so best believe that would be one ugly, wrinkled,fat,bald mermaid or it aint true to begin with. so get this phony fuggin mermaid crap up out my face! holla boo!

    • julie

      June 27, 2012 at 8:44 pm

      learn how to talk correclty you’re a disgrace to the human race

    • dave

      June 29, 2012 at 6:38 am

      Mammals that live in water do have hair. Sea Otters have like a million hairs per square inch. Still, there are no mermaids..

    • Sarah

      July 3, 2012 at 8:29 pm

      @julie shut up! She’s not a disgrace. Just because she can’t talk like you doesnt mean anything you ignorant disgrace to the human race

    • peter

      July 10, 2012 at 2:36 pm

      Anyone who talks like that should be banned from posting on the internet.

    • chris

      July 14, 2012 at 3:38 pm

      i can tell you are a very dumb black woman

    • Abby

      July 17, 2012 at 12:08 pm

      Lol chris

  30. Daniel

    June 27, 2012 at 4:27 am

    http://www.worth1000.com/entries/685114/mermaid-skeleton-found

    Here’s the picture without the dude.
    Clearly photoshopped.

  31. Zachary M

    June 26, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    there were no skulls found 8000 years ago that look as modern as that skull. we were still neanderthals back then.

    • Jen

      July 8, 2012 at 2:50 pm

      We couldn’t be neanderthals because that species is extinct, during that time, there was two different species competing for the same resources, but the neanderthals was lacking in survival plus they ate their own children because food was scarce so eventually they died out.

  32. abc02

    June 26, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    Seems about as legit as that Secret Italian Supercat.

  33. Valery

    June 26, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    You can clearly see that it’s photoshopped. As they mentioned, you can see the guy’s outline to be cropped from somewhere. His picture is from the front view, clearly, while the supposed “mermaid” is from a more birds-eye-view. And, come on now, seriously, would he be wearing THAT when discovering THAT?? I would expect him to have a brush in his hand or even some other white coat. As for the skeleton, well let’s start off with the tail, it seems to be less dusted off than the torso, and the skull is perfectly cleaned off and has no dirt, and the ribs seem to be crumbling and if they were they would have some dirt on them, wouldn’t they? Plus, the bottom half doesn’t even have the same color tone as they do in the upper half like in the arms. But still, it would be great if it was real but a shame that now with things like photoshop we can’t tell if things are real or not…

  34. Eleanor

    June 26, 2012 at 9:28 am

    Yes I also do agree, that I think that it was photo shopped, Cause that guy was not there!

  35. Mario Angelov

    June 26, 2012 at 5:09 am

    You can clearly see this has been photoshopped, the guy standing next to the alleged mermaid obviously wasn’t there in the original picture.
    You can tell that by the bad cutting job the Photoshop guy did.

    • Cha

      June 26, 2012 at 10:11 am

      Yeah, I agree with you. He’s standing on a dirt ledge with the remains going up the hill. If you look to the right of the picture, there’s no dirt ledge there. “Photoshopped!”

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Look: France’s ‘Cat-Fox’ — The New Unidentified Specie

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Cat Fox

Recently, the team from France’s National Hunting and Wildlife Office (ONCFS) released the news of a formerly unknown species of wildcat called the Cat-Fox or “chat-renard” in French. At first, it was only believed to be part of the French Island of Corsica’ local legend as ghjattuvolpe, a nocturnal beast which attacks sheep and goats.

During an interview with AFP, the ONCFS chief environmental technician Pierre Benedetti stated that “We believe that it’s a wild natural species which was known but not scientifically identified because it’s an extremely inconspicuous animal with nocturnal habits,” Benedetti has been studying the species for more than ten years already.

How is it different from our pet cats?

These cats have black ringed tails that are fox-like, “highly developed” canine teeth, “very wide” ears, short whiskers. And they are bigger. Cat foxes can grow up to 90 centimeters (35 inches) from head to tail-tip, while normal cats usually grow up only to 76 centimeters. They are nocturnal (active/awake at night). Also, they have stripes on their front legs, “very-dark” hind legs and a russet-colored stomach. Their silky and thick coat is designed to repel ticks, fleas, and lice naturally.

Why is it called Cat fox?

It’s not a type of fox, neither, is it a combination of a cat and a fox. But it is believed to be a wild cat. “It’s their size and their tail that earned them the name ‘cat-fox’ across the island,” says Benedetti. Some experts stated that its ears and tail resemble a fox, but its fur and facial characteristics are somehow similar to a typical cat.

Its existence was first popularly known last 2008 when a single cat-fox was caught by accident in a hen house at Olcani in Cap Corse.

Last 2012, to get and determine the golden stripped creature’s DNA, the team created traps with wooden sticks that have an irresistible smell to cats. As a result, they were able to get its fur, when the cats rubbed their bodies against the sticks.

After some analysis, they discovered through its DNA, that it is somehow related (but can be differentiated) from the European wildcat, Felis silvestris. It’s closely related to the African forest cat, F. silvestris lybica. However, it’s “exact identity is still to be determined,” Benedetti added.

The first cat was captured in 2016 using modernized photographic traps. Afterward, the team was able to catch 12 of the 16 total cats that they’ve seen using non-violent methods.

According to an ONCFS field agent, Carlu-Antone Cecchini, the cats were found in a location where “water and plant cover offering protection against its main predator, the golden eagle.” After examining and tagging the cats with electronic chips to track their adventures, the ONCFS releases them to the wild unharmed. One of the cats they’ve captured is a male cat with a one golden and one brown eye — a result of a cat fight.

The cat-fox may turn out like the mysterious wolf-like dog found in Montana last May 2018. It was revealed that it’s just an old type of wolf.

Today, it is still uncertain whether the cat-fox is new species or an old species that hasn’t been formally recognized. But some people argue that this may be a new species which is a combination of two types of species (species hybridisation). This hybridization is possible since a new bird species was discovered in the Galapagos.

The answer behind the lineage of these cats is one of the mysteries that are yet to be known. It’s diet, and ways of reproduction, are however to be discovered and learned in the future. Also, Benedetti has a theory that these cats may have been living on the French island of Corsica since 6,500 years BC.

He added that farmers might have brought these cats in the island. Meanwhile, Scientists believe that the cat could have originated from Africa or the Middle East.

According to CNN, the wildlife rangers from ONCFS expect that by catching, studying and tagging the cat foxes, they can somehow help these cute furry friends to be known and protected shortly, hopefully in two to four years.

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Look: Exotic Pets Turned Invasive Pests

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Exotic Pets
Marcie Kapsch from Loxahatchee NWR holding the exotic sailfin catfish (FL). Photo: USFWS Fish and Aquatic Conservation | Flickr

A recent study published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, a journal from the Ecological Society of America, documented how researchers gain more awareness in the dynamics of the exotic pet trade and the role it plays in introducing nonlocal and invasive vertebrates worldwide.

As exotic pets become more popular, we need to have a clearer understanding of the factors that affect the trade to minimize the threat of having a pet-to-pests invasion soon.

Lockwood, the lead author of the study, said that since the 1970s, the market for exotic pets is continuously growing and the amount of vertebrate animals that are traded globally is surprising, even to the experienced biologists. Over the past decades, the population of reptiles and marine fish significantly increased — caused by their viral popularity as exotic pets.

Researchers take a closer look at the socioeconomic and socioecological factors that affect the exotic pet trade of vertebrates (animals with the backbone; namely fishes, birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles).  The mentioned factors depend on the unique economic, social, regulatory, and cultural contexts of a particular country. There is an increasing and widespread demand for exotic pets worldwide, but it occurs mainly in developing countries like South America and Asia. In the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom, more than half of all households have at least one pet.

What are exotic pets? 

In the study, it is defined as “species without a long history of domestication that are legally captured from their native range or bred within facilities and sold to consumers as household companions,” and are kept for non-utilitarian reasons (characterized by or aiming at beauty or ornament rather than utility).

Lockwood explains that species of goldfish or monk parakeets are considered as common pets for decades. Other species appear in the market for only one or two years; after that, they disappear.

The reason for this dynamic is not yet known, but researchers noted that this might be because of some species are easy to take care and breed well in captivity (which makes them cost cheaper). She added that thousands of different species are sold yearly. If a small percentage will escape or be free, they are capable of forming wild populations.

Is it really bad if our former pets decided to form a big family in the wild?

Lockwood and her team said that invasive reptiles and amphibians could force local species into extinction.

For example, the red-eared sliders (Trachemys scripta elegans) are turtles popularly kept as pets in the United States. It is native to the south-central region of the US, but it has created non-native populations in other parts of the country. These turtles are the real-life counterparts of the Famous Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Red eared slider turtle Credits: Jim, The Photographer| Flickr | Unknown

The reasons why owners release exotic pet is not widely documented. But it includes difficulty in taking care of large, old, aggressive, or sick animals. Cute little animals don’t always stay the same; sometimes, they grow and live longer than the pet owners had expected. Most countries don’t have the proper documentation of imported pet species. Also, there are challenges in monitoring and regulating them; some animals are usually recorded as “unidentified” or wrongly identified.

Factors such as the popularity of owning exotic animals, the ease of buying exotic pets from websites, and the lack of adequately implemented regulations — made it possible for the species to spread not only in their original locations but also in other parts of the globe.

This increase the possibility of having invasions in the future. To avoid or minimize the chances of having an exotic pet invasion, we need to have a better understanding of the forces that affect the worldwide trade of exotic pets.

In conclusion, Lockwood said that first “we need to know the reasons why certain species are in the trade, or what factors lead them to escape or be released,” so that we can make the right policies. These policies should be able to make both sides happy. Some people are still free to love their exotic pets while minimizing the probability of invasion.

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Baby Tiger Sharks Munch On Land Birds

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Tiger Sharks
Photo: Tony Alter | Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Tiger sharks can eat anything — from dolphins, other sharks, sea turtles to rubber tires and other ocean trash, hence, nicknamed as the garbage cans of the sea. But recently, scientists discovered by analyzing the DNA of a shark’s barf that baby tiger sharks have a different diet. They documented that baby tiger sharks eat songbirds (such as sparrows, woodpeckers, and doves), and not the usual sea birds (seagulls or pelicans).

Kevin Feldheim, one of the co-authors of the study and led to the DNA analysis of the shark’s diet, said that “if these sharks with their tigerlike stripes see an easy target or meal, they will undoubtedly go for it.” But, he was shocked to learn that they’re eating songbirds. He added that this is one of the awesome projects since the discovery of DNA profiling.

Photo Credits: Field Museum.org

Researchers from Mississippi State University studied the tiger sharks’ diet. They wrassle the 3 foot long sharks onto a boat, pump the shark’s stomachs, and examine the sample of its stomach contents. Don’t worry; no sharks are harmed in the process and were released afterward. Shockingly, out of the 105 sharks they’ve examined, 41 had bird remains in their stomachs.

However, it was difficult for scientists to determine what bird species the tiger sharks’ digested. As a solution, the team sought assistance with the Field Museum’s Pritzker Laboratory for Molecular Systematics and Evolution to analyze its DNA.

The team took the bird remains and used chemicals to break them down their primary molecular components. Then, they analyzed the DNA sequences found in the bird’s tissues. Afterward, they compared them to the available databases of bird’s DNA to know what species they are.

“We found out that none of them were seagulls, pelicans, cormorants, or other types of marine birds. They were all terrestrial birds that usually live in our backyards,” said Marcus Drymon, the paper’s lead author.

Moreover, this is not the first time that tiger sharks are known to eat birds. In Hawaii, some adult tiger sharks haunt baby albatrosses who are just learning to fly, says Feldheim. But this is the first time that we acquired scientific evidence that tiger sharks eat songbirds that usually live on land.

Feldheim added that the sharks hunt on songbirds since its easy to prey due to the species’ difficulties in traveling over the ocean. During migration, they’re exhausted, and sometimes they fall into the sea during a typhoon. Also, terrestrial birds are more appealing than seabirds because seabirds can handle themselves better in the water compared to songbirds.

What is the impact of this study?

It proves the importance of having DNA databases, which should be available for scientists. DNA can tell something that observation cannot.

Also, this study gives us a better understanding of tigers sharks. This information can somehow help us to protect them. According to Feldheim, all sharks currently facing some severe problems. We still don’t know how industrialized fishing affected them, but most of the top predator populations are continuously declining.

Although tiger sharks are notorious for being man-eaters, we humans pose a more significant threat. Based on National Geographic, most populations of tiger sharks are harvested for their fins, skin, and flesh. Their livers are a good source of vitamin A, and usually, it is processed into vitamin oils. In general, sharks take a long time to mature sexually and have low birth rates. Their population may also suffer due to overfishing. As of today, they are included in the near-threatened list of species.

Sharks are known to be the top predators, and they are essential in keeping the oceans in balance. They prey on the weak and prevent the potentially harmful fish populations from taking over a particular ecosystem. They are at risk of accumulating too many toxins from the prey they eat.

For example, plastics break down into microplastics — which are eaten by small fish. But these microplastics further break down into toxins that stay in the fishes’ system. This can cause sufficient harm to sharks if they’ve eaten it over time.

What can we do to help save sharks?

We need to stop buying shark products. We need to raise awareness that just like us, sharks are just living their own lives. They are acting like police offers, regulating the rules set by Mother Nature.

If sharks disappear in the world’s oceans, there will be negative consequences. Without them, at the top of the food chain, some population of aquatic creatures may also decline and suffocating algae blooms will increase. These algae blooms create toxins and can ruin coral reefs. We must do our part to save these creatures from extinction.

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