SHARK BITES – (2016)

October 27, 2011 § Leave a comment


Fox bite

A Russian psychologist, Ivan Pavlov studied the secretory activity of digestion.

“In a now classic experiment, Pavlov first performed a minor operation on a dog to relocate its salivary duct to the outside of its cheek, so that drops of saliva could be more easily measured. The dog, which was food deprived, was then harnessed in an apparatus to keep it steady in order to collect saliva.

Periodically, a bell was rang, followed shortly thereafter by meat being placed in the hungry dog’s mouth. Normally, meat causes a hungry dog to salivate, whereas rings have little effect. The dog’s salivation to meat is an unconditioned reflex – it is in-born, in that dogs do not have to learn to salivate when food is placed in their mouths. Initially, the dog shows little responsiveness to the bell rings. Over time, however, the dog comes to salivate at the sounding of the bell rings alone. When this occurs, Pavlovian conditioning or classical conditioning has occurred, in that a new, or conditioned, reflex has developed. This confirmed Pavlov theory that the dog had associated the bell ringing with the food”.  (Google search – Pavlov’s dog)

In 1904 Pavlov was awarded the Nobel Prize for physiology for his work on digestive secretion.



We know the species migrates between South Africa and Australia.

This shark is very talented with better eye sight, smell, stamina, senses – than any human diving in the underwater world.

There would be no reason to doubt that the shark does not have a good memory – plus amazing navigational skills.

For the first time in marine history we are inter reacting with the shark underwater from cages in many parts of the world by using food to attract and in some cases tease them into performing.

Add to this the wide ranging protection the species now enjoys and it has become a new game where the shark is well on top.

The species has the ability to think, memorize, navigate and feed freely without the previous hesitation, the concerns of being caught or injured.  More apparent in mature sharks than with inexperienced juveniles of all species.

The species would be learning about humans from sightings of them diving in cages while being offered food  from other human forms above water in boats.

The question now is: What occurs when these migratory sharks encounter  human forms, elsewhere,  swimming, surfing, diving?

Might the Pavlov Dog conditioned response click-in?

(The association between divers and food from all past cage-food experience with divers and a human shape present, now).

Could this be a new additional trigger for a bite or a full blown attack?

Much would depend upon how much experience and feeding had been spent associated with cages for the Pavlov type conditioning to have become conditioned into the memory.

The problem here is, we don’t know how quickly this highly intelligent species learns in relation to obtaining it’s food.

My guess would be, very fast.

Divers who have swum with these sharks in the open ocean are fortunate that the shark was most likely, recently fed.

Text may be modified or edited further. 27 October 2011 (copyright)

A brief plea to save sharks, while promoting a film screening – during the era of Jaws No.1 fell on deaf ears for more than a decade. Scientists and marine conservationists eventually convinced the world to protect the most dangerous shark in the sea.

The Cod Hole is/was an example where fish like Potato cod (pictured) and Maori wrasse congregated at a Great Barrier Reef boat anchorage site to get fed by divers.  Eventually the situation went out of control when a large moray eel made a savage and probable unintentional or accidental attack on a diver (who eventually lost an arm).

The point here is, everything (every creature) in the sea learns where the food is, and learns this fast.

Sharks learn to distinguish the signature sound that every boat propeller has and will assign themselves to a particular boat, probably also in a pecking order.  We know this from professional fishing boats who see the same markings on sharks.

Does the Pavlov Dog example work on a migratory predator?  That would be an interesting, although difficult experiment to conduct.

After just losing a leg ‘from the knee down’ to a white pointer shark, we were surprised to see Henri Bource, (in center on crutches) chatting with fellow shark bite ‘victims’.

All three were free diving when bitten and all were ‘spat out’ without being eaten.

This attack pattern has changed a bit  in recent times with the victim now being killed and consumed partially or entirely.

In other words the sharks responsible are no longer just curious,  not mistaking divers for seals, and are seemingly becoming more frequent.

Three fatalities in Australia in just seven weeks to late October 2011 and summer is still one month away.

A portion of one of the three recent victims was recovered, the others vanished.


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