This Photo Of A Shark Caused Outrage, But Everything Isn't As It Seems

Admittedly, it doesn’t look good. A photo has emerged of a woman lying next to a dead great white shark and grinning wide-eyed and excited at the camera. The woman in question, a marine biologist, has come under fire for the shark “selfie” that has since gone viral – but her colleague, Giancarlo Thomae, promises it was all done in the name of science.

The shark was found washed up on a Californian beach last weekend, presumably because it had beached the night before. Thomae, a marine biologist at the University of California, Santa Cruz, was alerted to the presence of the now deceased shark by his mother, who had seen a post on Facebook. Concerned the body would be swept away by the morning tide, he and his colleague headed over to Seascape Beach Resort to take its measurements before it was too late.


There was a just a small problem. They had no equipment to measure it with. Which is why, as they waited for colleagues to bring said equipment, the pair got creative. Thomae asked his colleague to lie next to the shark to get some sense of scale.

The photo, taken by Thomae, is vaguely reminiscent of trophy hunting photos, which may explain why it was met with such an outcry on social media when posted on Facebook by TV station KSBW. (The photo has since been removed.)


"Taking selfies really? Have some Effing RESPECT! Don't care if she's a 'scientist' it's tasteless," one person wrote.

"This could not be more messed up ... A dead shark is not a photo op,” said another.


“This was once a living being and it's just ok to lay next to it smiling? This is appalling aaaannnnnd i'm angry. Justice needs to be had,” demanded someone else.

In an interview with the Sacramento Bee, Thomae defended his actions.

“As a biologist and a nature-lover, it makes me happy that people care so much about wildlife,” Thomae told reporters. “I’m sorry if my photo offended anyone, but we just needed scale for reference.”

In the end, they were able to measure the shark, which turned out to be 2.7 meters (8 foot 9 inches) and 227 kilograms (500 pounds), and take it away for a necropsy (aka an animal autopsy). As of yet, there has been no word on its cause of death. The juvenile male has several scars and wounds from tussles with sea lions (or "dinner" to the shark) but Thomae doesn't think they killed him, calling them "cat scratches". 


[H/T: Sacramento Bee]


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