chapter  5
Shark Science
WithRoslyn Appleby
Pages 18

This chapter discusses the ways in which studies in animal science, with their purported production of objective, universal truths, reflecte conservative myths and theories about human behaviour, particularly in regard to sexuality and sex roles. It explores the language and discourses emerging in descriptions of sharks’ mating behaviour, reports of fossilised shark embryos and penises, and accounts of ‘virgin births’ amongst female sharks. The chapter argues that such scientific reports, when prepared for a public audience, interpret shark biology through a conservative and gendered lens that, in turn, serves to support a bio-evolutionary basis for traditional patriarchal norms in human society. The chapter closes with questions about the value of intrusive tagging and tracking activities carried out in the scientific quest to explore and colonise the lives of sharks.