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Friday, August 5, 2011

Shark Week

Smithsonian staff with  fiberglass jaws of an extinct 40-foot long shark.
Courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution Archives
All fans of the Discovery Channel surely know that this week is Shark Week.   I myself, not a terrible fan of 5 shark themed shows in one night, have had to watch my fair share. So if anyone out there is in the same boat as me (ha...ha) I thought I would give you a nice little factoid to share with your shark enthusiast friends.

Though we here at the Smithsonian Institution Archives can not give you a post of the Top Ten Shark Jumps or the Top Thirty-Five Great White Attacks,  we do have a lot of shark knowledge. Over the years, the Smithsonian has featured sharks in programs and exhibits, so we can share with you that the Carcharodon megalodon is the colossal ancestor of the modern great white shark and fossils from this big guy are here at the Smithsonian. The Carcharodon megalodon was about the size of a railroad car and occupied the Earth’s waters about 30 million years ago. For more information about this incredible animal check out the National Museum of Natural History’s Ocean’s Portal and visit the Ocean’s Hall to check out other interesting shark stories. If you are really into all things shark take a bite out of this Smithsonian's Collection Search Center search for images of specimens.

Courtney Esposito
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Institutional History Division

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