Jaws: The natural history of sharks

Michael Bright

Introduction

Basking shark

Primitive fishes resembling sharks were swimming in the oceans over 450 million years ago. Their descendants survived successive mass extinctions, including the catastrophe at the end of the Permian period (245 million years ago) when 96 per cent of all marine life was extinguished. They saw the dinosaurs come and go, and were still thriving when the mammals returned to the sea. Their long evolutionary history has refined sharks to the rank of near-perfect predators.

In this seminar Michael Bright, executive producer with the BBC Natural History Unit and author of the book Sharks, reviews the broad range of living sharks in order to explore their biology, behaviour and evolution. Traditionally, sharks have had a villainous reputation and the book and film phenomenon Jaws has done much to perpetuate this pariah status but, as Bright reveals, sharks are stunning rather than sinister creatures. He examines the serious threats, in the forms of overfishing and marine pollution, experienced by wild shark populations all over the world.

Book cover Sharks by Michael Bright

Sharks, Michael Bright Paperback (2002)

Michael's Bright's exploration of the latest findings from shark research all over the world, reveals sharks to be more than just mindless, killing machines. It shows how sharks have been the product of over 450 million years of evolution, during which time they have been honed to perfection as some of the sea's most sophisticated predators. Spectacular photographs and easy-to-follow diagrams help turn a creature which once scared us into one that now inspires.

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About the author

Michael Bright recently retired as executive producer with the BBC Natural History Unit, based in Bristol, England, and is now a freelance author and scriptwriter. He has been a producer in many parts of the BBC, including departments responsible for science, arts, general documentaries, current affairs and natural history programmes, for both radio and television. He was a recipient of the prestigious Prix Italia for the programme Men, Nations and Whales: Will the Bloody Story Ever End? He is a graduate of the University of London and author of over 90 books on natural history, natural sciences, conservation and the environment, including the recently published The Pride (JR Books). Sharks have been a special interest and Bright has published numerous works on the subject.

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