November 18th, 2008

pyrate

WHALE SHARK POOP

This is thought to be the first video catching a whale shark in "motion".

It is as thick as your arm and smells disgusting - and it has just been caught on camera for what is thought to be the first time.

A crew has managed to record a whale shark - the world's biggest fish - expelling food waste, which was then scooped up for research.

Biologist Mark Meekan said the sample had helped him to discover more about the giant creature's feeding habits.

The footage forms part of a BBC Natural World wildlife programme: Whale Shark.

Whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) are related to great whites, but are far less fearsome - they are filter feeders, swimming about with their enormous mouths open to scoop up tasty morsels floating in their paths.

Mark Meekan
One way to work out what is going in one end is to look at what is coming out of the other
Dr Mark Meekan

They can grow up to 12m long; yet, despite their staggering size, very little is known about these ocean giants.

Dr Meekan, who is based at the Darwin office of the Australian Institute of Marine Science, was followed by the Natural World team as he has carried out his research on these mysterious fish.

He said: "It does seem rather weird, someone being so excited about seeing whale shark poo. And I'm pretty certain that this is the first time it has been filmed.

"But it is pretty rare - they are usually doing their business down in much deeper water."

He described the faeces that the team collected as "scientific gold".

"One way to work out what is going in one end is to look at what is coming out of the other.
Whale shark
The creatures are the biggest fish in the world

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hehehe POO

The "whale's eye" cam clip is awesome too, on the same page as the link above.