Saturday, October 11, 2008

Shark healthcare not so good

Will Dunham, Associated Press:
Scientists using DNA testing have confirmed the second-known instance of "virgin birth" in a shark -- a female Atlantic blacktip shark named Tidbit that produced a baby without a male shark.

The shark came to the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Centre in Virginia Beach not long after being born in the wild and lived there for eight years with no males of the same species, said Beth Firchau, the aquarium's curator of fishes.

The 5-foot (1.5-metre) shark died after being removed from the tank for a veterinary examination, and a subsequent necropsy revealed that Tidbit was carrying a fully developed shark pup nearly ready to be born, Firchau said.

Demian Chapman, a shark scientist with the Institute for Ocean Conservation Science at Stony Brook University in New York state, performed DNA testing that showed the pup had no father. Virgin birth such as this is known as parthenogenesis.
I know most people find this story interesting because apparently sharks produce their own holy messiahs and Anakin Skywalkers (although theirs die in the womb). What I find more interesting, though, is that the shark died while visiting the doctor. For all we know, the shark was perfectly healthy.

I bet some whiny conservatives are going to start blaming lawyers for the rising shark malpractice rates. But listen, folks, you cannot make it to a full shark trial if you do not at least have a reasonable claim for shark malpractice.

BONUS: This unrelated but amusing shark comic strip.

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