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Thursday, 8 January 2009

Dissecting a Great White

We took the younger kids to see Madagascar 2 the other day and our youngest, Noah aged 7, loved the bit at the end where the shark came out of the ocean, gave chase snapping its teeth and ultimately fell into a live volcano. When we heard about today's opportunity to see a dissection of a great white shark at the Auckland museum we decided to go see.

It was really hot and packed with people and standing room only; although our three eldest caved and went inside to the air-conditioned, seated, auditorium with live video feed, Noah persevered and we eventually managed to get a good spot up the front on the bench seats.

To say there was a bit of a media presence was an understatement; anyone would have thought the star attraction was a celebrity or a major politician not a shark.

This photo only shows the first ring of cameras around the shark and does not show the ones on the hill or the ones standing around us taking the same shot.

We were nabbed by TV1 who interviewed Madeleine as to why we were there [to see the shark perhaps...] though Madeleine came up with something cleverer than that, and what Noah thought might be in the shark's stomach; Noah's answer of "a bicycle and maybe a can" left the reporter looking perplexed so the footage may get scrapped, nevertheless - Noah insists TV1's news tonight is compulsory viewing.

There is a chance Noah might make it to air as we heard the same reporter interviewing one of the museum people and heard him ask about sharks eating bicycles and whether people expecting that were likely to be disappointed. On dissection, it turned out the shark had been eating fish (fresh, not out of a can and had not recently encountered any bicycles - Noah was most disappointed) thought it did have a snapper hook in its stomach which saw Noah standing on his seat; at least one fisherman out there is not telling tall tales when he speaks of the one that got away.

We queued in the heat and managed to get up close and personal with the shark. Here is Noah taking it all in.

You can watch the whole event online here.

UPDATE: Noah made the news but he was not happy about how the reporter reacted on air to his comment about the bicycle and we have already had phone calls and emails about his "imagination." So in defence of Noah, who formed his list of what might be inside the shark using google and books prior to attending the necropsy today, here are links to two sites that vindicate him:

"Almost everything has been found in the stomach of bull sharks, from bicycle tires to human remains."

"Stomach contents of Great Whites examined have contained everything from shoes to tin cans."


  1. When I was about Noah's age I had a book naming some of the items said to have been found in the stomachs of Great White's, including old boots, number plates, and cans.

  2. Sounds like your kids' holidays period was like ours
    1. I took the kids to Madagascar 2
    2. The kids made the news ( Dom Post pic and story)
    3. We went to the museum ( Te Papa) and saw a giant half ton squid - except it wasn't live or being dissected..

  3. When we did our research I pointed Noah to the potential stomach contents as I knew what he would find would engage him. By the time he got there his list of what might be inside the shark was everything but fish! We just didn't count on so many adults not being so well informed.

    We tend to make the news quite regularly when we attend events where media are present. Matt was rolling his eyes at me after the reporter had gone to get the cameraman having secured his interview with us because reporters invariably make beelines to me when we are at events they are at (or to Sherry, who is the most like me of all my children); we both seem to attract reporters for some reason.

    What did your kids make the news for Dave?

  4. Reminds me a little of the cartoon of the child on Christmas Day opening a tiny parcel with the fervent wish - "let it be a pony".

    Children's observations are always worth hearing, and often quite profound.

    I'm with Noah.

  5. This is awesome! A once in a lifetime opportunity. I was a biology teacher and loved teaching the dissections. This would have been at the top of my list. Thanks for sharing!


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