Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Chuggy - healing in GWS!

 Chuggy last year and now - click for detail!

Very interesting!

Martin is spot on.
We, too marvel at the near-miraculous healing power of our Sharks and having read Martin's post, I'm more than ever convinced that the reported fresh mating scars on the female GWS in Lupe are very powerful circumstantial evidence for Domeier's theory that mating happens there, and not in the SOFA as speculated by Jorgensen and lately, by Chapple.

But there's another observation that caught my attention.
And I cite.
I'm blown away by their ability to survive injuries that would kill just about any other animal and the weirdest thing is, these nasty injuries don't even seem to bother them all that much. They swim by like nothing happened, with no discernible change in behavior or activity. They are not "limping" around, they keep swimming around normally, acting exactly like they did the day before.
Where any wounded Mammal or Bird would clearly signal signs of discomfort, flinch at any contact with a wound or avoid further using an injured limb etc, the injured Sharks I've observed do nothing like it. 

Instead, they continue to do their thing completely undeterred. 
The most astonishing occurrence I've witnessed was probably when Bum turned up with a partly severed tail. At any tail beat, the upper half would flap around at crazy angles, something that would have led to agonizing pain and clear avoidance behavior had it happened to any mammal. But not only did she not in the slightest appear to try and limit the use of her tail - the injured tail has even managed to grow back together, albeit at an angle, and this despite of the incessant back-and-forth movement!

So what does this mean?
The way I see it, one of the functions of pain is to help avoid harmful situations and thus, the total absence of pain would seem to be an evolutionary dead end. But may there possibly be different manifestations of pain, ie the sensation that makes us flinch back unconsciously (and Sharks certainly do!) and then the other pain that manifests itself in conscious suffering?
It's of course a hornet's nest where the latest research claims that Fish don't feel pain (and here) but where others passionately disagree. I'm on the fence on this - but from what I've observed, I just cannot believe that those Sharks are simply toughing it out, or whatever.

But it matters not.
It is certainly not ever going to justify resorting to unnecessarily cruel treatment, even if only by human standards. Images like these are certainly highly disturbing and although I don't for a minute subscribe to the notion that the research may be redundant or gratuitous (quite the contrary!), I'm equally highly irritated by the continued unnecessarily invasive procedures and bombastic self-promotion of the self-professed re-incarnation of Cousteau! 
Which of course begs the question, how will Shark Week's latest favorite Shark tracker succeed in handling that colossal ego and in generally navigating those treacherous media waters unscathed?
Having witnessed this, I'm not at all hopeful!

But I'm digressing as always.
Bravo Martin - very interesting post!


Michelle W. said...

RE: Pain argument

I don't think we'll ever know, because those who want to prove fish/sharks feel pain will always find a statistical way of doing so (as will the people who want to prove that they don't). Although, something to chew on (intended)... Do male sharks bite females through the gills to 'hurt' them, or to suffocate them? Mating bites are always aimed around the gills... think about it! Don't make me go into the many examples of how male animals utilize suffocation for forced copulation (think dolphins)... I may choke on the topic...

DaShark said...

Very interesting!

But... may I be detecting allusions to nefarious intentions here?

Of course we all know that Dolphins are the ultimate animal scumbags - and since they are apparently endowed with all those cognitive powers, it follows that what they do is intentional and malicious.

But Sharks?