Great white shark dissection to be shown live online
The necropsy, believed to be the first of its kind, will take place at Auckland Museum in front of about 1,000 members of the public. It will also be streamed online and can be viewed live 2-4 p.m. PST at http://www.aucklandmuseum.com/Default.asp?t=913.
"It's very exciting, we've never done anything like this in front of the public before," said Tom Trnski, marine curator at Auckland Museum. "It's a rare opportunity for us. Little is known about the life history of these apex predators of the ocean, and we hope to learn more about the shark's recent past before it came into the harbor."
The shark, an adolescent female that measures 10 feet long and weighs 660 pounds, was accidentally caught by a local New Zealand fisherman after it had become entangled in a gill net in Auckland's Kaipara Harbor last week.
The scientists will dissect the shark in an open amphitheater at the museum and examine its stomach content, measure its internal organs and record all of their findings for international shark research. The reproductive organs also will be examined.
"We're interested in the gut content to see what the shark has eaten -- it could be anything from seals, penguins, fish or even whale blubber," Trnski said. "We're certainly hoping not to find any human bits inside, but you never know."
The dissection of the shark comes after weeks of recent shark sightings around New Zealand and Australia.
Hopefully the scientists will gain much information from this opportunity and it won't turn out to be akin to Al Capone's vault.
-- Kelly Burgess
Photo: Great white shark near Guadalupe Island, Mexico. Credit: sharkdiver.com