Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Shark Bible - fail!


Check out this pic.

That's a Sicklefin Lemon Negaprion acutidens.
And there's plenty more pictures here - notice anything?
Yes as everybody with two eyes can see, every single one of them features a dark spot on the tip of the snout. THAT, and not some equivocal falcate fins and the like is the principal physical attribute differentiating them from ordinary Lemons - and I'm yet to come across a single ID book mentioning it!
Johann - do you agree?

And this is the illustration from the bible.

Does this in any way look like that Shark?
And what about that kink in the gills - do you see anything confirming it below? And that line originating above the gills - where does it curve down to, and why doesn't the upper Shark feature it?


Not impressed!

PS - but it's still the best there is, so get it!


Johann Mourier said...

Yes Mike
I agree, for me as far as I know, the dark spot on the tip of the snout is a distinctive characteristic. I haven't seen yet pictures of its sister species N. brevirostris with such spots.
The problem with drawings compared to picture is that although they provide an artistic contribution, they sometime do not really look like the reality. I haven't seen the book (the shark bible) but it is sure that the N.acutidens illustration could have been better.

DaShark said...

Merci Johann!

What is being said of those drawings, is that they provide a BETTER representation than photographs because the artists can really accurately depict all which is relevant for the ID.

Clearly not here.
Also, many of the line drawings, e.g. that of the Bull Shark or the Great Hammerhead depict the Sharks with depressed tails which in no way corresponds to their natural appearance but is likely copied from old pictures of dead Sharks on docks.

I must say that although the book is rather epic, I'm never the less disappointed by this lack of attention to detail.

Saffron Le Juste said...

Actually, I havent seen the new book. But the old book was very disturbing to a number of prominent underwater photographers -- it was quite obvious when the "illustrations" were copied directly from iconic underwater photography by Valerie Taylor, Doug Perrine and others. I hope this has been rectified with the new edition.

DaShark said...

Aaaah - may this by any chance be ze Pimpernel?

Unlikely - I got the old one and many illustrations are the same.

But having said this, I strongly doubt that the purpose of this book is primarily financial. It is more likely a labor of love.
As a common friend writes,
quality illustrated books -- that don't feature celebrities, cooking, celebrities cooking, celebrity nipple slips and tattoos, or best of all, tattooed celebrities having nipple-slips while cooking -- are pretty much dead.

So bear with them - the more as in all likelihood, chances for million-dollar settlements and subsequent, to make a totally hypothetical example, horse farms adjoining White Mountain National Forests or the like appear very slim indeed!