Thursday, June 11, 2015

Ritter - at it again!

Oh for crying out loud!

Read this shit.
A prominent Shark researcher comments,
Never even heard of that journal. What's the point??? I don't get it. Ritter must be a lot smarter than me.
But is he?
Yes some Sharks do sneak up on divers.
Big deal. We divers all know that all Fishes, not only Sharks appear to know when you're looking at them and moreover, appear to be wary of occasions when we pay them special attention like when taking pictures or spearfishing. Depending on our behavior and the animal's boldness or lack of, this may lead to close encounters or conversely, to flight behavior. It's complicated because of the countless variables - but if there's one constant, then it is indeed the fact that the animals are very much able to discern whether we see them or not. This is hardly surprising as this faculty is an advantage for both predators and prey and also in other interactions, meaning that evolution would have certainly selected for it.

So far so good.
But then come these remarkable statements.
Since nearly 59% prefer to swim very near—less than 1 m—from the sea floor when approaching the test-subjects, we suggest that the ocean floor is used as a form of camouflage, allowing the sharks to better blend in, whereas a mid-water approach may make them more visible against the lighter background, illuminated by the sky. Approaching close to the bottom to reduce visibility reflects a typical stealth behavior.
Nothing about currents, and the fact that currents are generally lowest when swimming close to the substrate. Nothing about the fact that on sandy bottoms, most of the potential prey will be either highly camouflaged, or partially to totally buried - meaning that proximity to the sand will enhance detection and chances for predation. Dunno about you - but that's where I would swim too, especially in a stronger current and/or when capturing images of wildlife!

And this?
Such an observation could imply that sharks might categorize humans as a potential form of prey. However, if the shark’s idiosphere does indeed reflect a flight initiation distance, then humans can rather be categorized as some form of predator. Nevertheless, there is also the possibility that sharks assume humans to be neither a prey nor a predator and simply accept them as unfamiliar objects. It, therefore, remains unclear whether and how humans are categorized by sharks, but considering the low yearly incident rates between sharks and humans, there must be some factors that hold sharks back from biting more frequently during encounters with humans.
Firstly, those are Caribbean Reefies not "Sharks". 
How Sharks behave is species-specific, and there, it varies according to location, situation and individually, the latter based on traits like boldness and/or previous experience etc etc. To in any way try and generalize is just simply stupid, like trying to apply observations made on individual Birds of Paradise to all Birds including Ostriches, Tits, Penguins and Golden Eagles!
Anyway, I can categorically assure you that Caribbean Reefs will never assume that a diver may be prey, as a loud, bubble-spewing 5+-feet person is nothing like anything a Caribbean Reef would ever consume! And for the matter, neither would a Basking Shark, Wobbegong or, say, Epaulette Shark! 
I mean - WTF?

Same-same for the idiosphere!
That's akin to somebody's personal space and like with people, it varies according to the culture (or in animals, the species), the individual and the situation = e.g. the individual's mood or familiarity, or the way it is being approached, etc - meaning that invading it may lead to flight, or avoidance or aggression. Or to a kiss. Or to nothing!

And the explanation of why those Sharks approached the divers?
If completely naive of people (and how likely is that?), those Caribbean Reefies could have indeed investigated those divers as potential predators. Or as generic threats. Or as competitors. Or out of curiosity. Or to better hone their sneaking skills. Or playfully. 
Or because they did in fact know people and had learned that some of them are hunters that will eventually lead them to a feeding opportunity. Or, that some of them are providers of food and/or nose rubs. Or because they wanted a hug. Or as potential partners for kinky sex!
The reason why "they" don't bite more people?
What has that got to do with Caribbean Reefies approaching over sand? But ever the Shark pornographer, that's all the dude cares about! They don't bite people because they actually got better things to do, lives to live, prey to catch, babies to make, places to go! They couldn't care less about Ritter's phobia and in most cases when they encounter people, there's no reason for them to strike - see here!

Anyway, who knows. 
Not you, not me and certainly not Ritter, see the crap that follows!

Long story short?
Indeed, what's the fucking point!
And so it goes!


Meh said...

I think Ritter is confusing idiosphere with idiotsphere.

Anonymous said...

The article "A Study of Shark Stealth Behavior in the Proximity of Divers" is a phenomenal piece showcasing the extreme intelligence of one Mr. Ritter... as in he knows how to use big words and has a thesaurus handy at all times to assist in the exaggeration of bullshit.

Megalobomb said...

Same predatory journal they published their last great treatise in.

DaShark said...

Yup - a real scientific paper would never publish this crap!

Shark Diver said...

I think he was talking about the idiotsphere. Reefies will stay away a certain distance from an idiot, because they never know what he's up to.