Needcoffee’s Shark Week: Day Seven

Welcome back for our final day of Needcoffee’s Shark Week. Over the past week, we’ve explored many different kinds of sharks, and I would like to think that learning about how varied and wonderful sharks are is more exciting than endless footage of great whites and tiger sharks chomping on things (although a little bit of that is cool, too, because that’s what they do). I don’t want anyone to get the impression that I’m against the Discovery Channel or the real efforts they make to educate people about sharks during Shark Week. I know that they have some very good programs, and partner with marine conservation groups to provide information about shark conservation. It’s only the large number of programs about shark attacks that made me so angry this year.

Shark and diver

Why concentrate so much on shark attacks when they are so rare? Is it the same bloodthirsty nature in us humans that once made gladiators and other blood sports so popular? Is there some sort of primal fear in us that likes being piqued from the safety of our living rooms? Regardless, why not try programming a Shark Week with say, only one program about shark attacks. What would be great to see? Maybe a program on the Top 10 Shark Species You’ve Never Heard Of, or a profile of some really weird ones, like the Cookie Cutter Shark. And my ideal Shark Week would have to have at least one program specifically about the importance of shark conservation.


Needcoffee’s Shark Week: Day Six

Chased by Sea Monsters

Now that we’ve met several very different species of sharks, it’s time to look at their ancestors. And to help us do that, here are a few books and things to consider. First up is the DVD of a very interesting series from the BBC called Chased by Sea Monsters. Nigel Marvin, TV-naturalist extraordinaire, does an in-the-field (or water, in this case) nature show with CG prehistoric sea creatures. It’s a bit of a weird spin on “Swimming With Dinosaurs,” but very cool, and it gives you a good idea about the possible sizes and movements of animals long since extinct. And there is a companion book for the series as well. Get the DVD here and the book here!

Encyclopedia Prehistorica: Sharkes and Other Sea Monsters book cover art

The other book of the day is really fun, and even more fun for kids who like strange beasties: Encyclopedia Prehistorica: Sharks and Other Sea Monsters is a very bold yet intricate pop-up book with all kinds of scary prehistoric creatures to marvel at. Grab it here.


Needcoffee’s Shark Week: Day Five

Shark from DK Books

Welcome back! Today we’re wrapping up our exploration of fifteen different species of sharks. To catch up on the previous ten (and the rest of our Shark Week posts), go here. We have a few “normal”-looking sharks, and then a few weirder ones. But first, let me introduce today’s book choice. I admit that even though I am indeed an adult, I love DK’s illustrated children’s books. Oh, they have great books for grownups, too, but I still enjoy the way they can pack so many pictures and so much interesting information in a straightforward (but not boring!) way into a book for kids. And no matter how much I think I know about a topic, they always seem to have at least one thing I did not know before I picked up the book. Therefore, today’s choice, particularly for those of you out there with kids, is the DK Eyewitness book Shark. You can grab it here.


Needcoffee’s Shark Week: Day Four

The Book of Sharks book cover art

We continue our shark expedition today with five more fascinating fish! And to help us on our journey today is Richard Ellis’ The Book of Sharks. This book is a lovely comprehensive work on many varieties of sharks, and among the many photographs and illustrations are wonderful paintings by Ellis himself. We love Richard Ellis here at Needcoffee. We talked about fabulous book, The Search for the Giant Squid, back in 2003. His works are definitely worth checking out, so why not snag The Book of Sharks to start out?


Needcoffee’s Shark Week: Day Three

Sharks of the World book cover art

Expanding on the idea presented yesterday that there are other sharks besides the Great White, I think we should explore the variety of shark species a bit further than biggest and smallest. This could take a very long time, of course, so over the next few days we’re only going to explore a few facts each about the first fifteen species that popped into my head. To help you study many, many more species of sharks in a much more organized fashion, I would like to recommend Princeton Field Guide’s Sharks of the World. This book is a very comprehensive guide to over 400 species of sharks with drawings and pertinent facts for each one, and much more of a scientific field guide than a casual reading book. If you really want to be able to identify which of the three thresher shark varieties you’re looking at, this might just be the book for you. Shark geeks like me can buy it here!

First, we have a familiar face (or silhouette, if you prefer): the Hammerhead Shark