what is this??

No worries, the teeth only compliment the vast arsenal we have at our disposal. Could you imagine what we would be capable of with far deadlier weapons? I shudder at the thought.
 
Just so I'm clear, is the consensus that the fish in the news article the same kind of fish which can live in the Mediterranian and would be a likely canditate for the fish in the story of Jonah?
 
I know that there are countless millions of new species to be discovered (including a rat/squirrel just found in Laos thought extinct for the past 11 million years!) but I doubt that too many of them are 50 ft long top predators

You should consider all possibilities before making such definitive statements: all eels have a larval stage known as a leptocephalus. Even in species such as moray eels, some of which grow to 3 m in length, the leptocephalus rarely exceeds 20 cm in length. In museum collections worldwide, there are leptocephalus specimens (L. giganteus which cannot be associated with any known adult species of eel. This leptocephalus grows to 180cm - assume that all eel leptocephali, including L. giganteus, would have similar ratios of larval:adult size, and suddenly, the 'sea serpent' mystery is no longer a mystery. Dang.
 
Hello Cindy,

Getting back to your original post, a few thoughts, predicated on the assumption that the article is even half accurate about the dimensions and behavior of the animal involved:

It sure sounds like a whale. It was a commonplace back then to refer to any aquatic animal with fins as a fish. If any Smiithsonian scholars observed the carcass, they may have done so long after the capture, when decomposition and meat-cutting would have skeletonized the whale. Even Smithsonian scholars can be misled by partial remains. A sperm whale would be hard to miss, but a baleen whale that was unfamilar to them could have stumped them. Baleen whales may also occasionally ingest large fish at the surface as they strain for plankton, so it's possible there was a semi-digested "creature" in the thing's gut.

Of course, the whole story could be crap.

If the tale of Jonah had any basis in reality, it's almost a sure bet that it was inspired by a large shark, the great white being the obvious and most likely suspect. Very large ones have been captured in the Mediterranean, and they're quite capable of swallowing a man whole. (Especially if the man is short-statured and very, very dead).

There's an outside chance that prehistoric humans dwelling along the right coasts might have seen a Megalodon, or seen a Megalodon inhale some poor fellow paddling on his raft. It would, of course, require a miraculous set of circumstances for that poor fellow to escape with his life, and he'd probably suffer from severe psychiatric disturbances for the rest of his life.

I should also say that good stories often jump barriers of language and culture, so the Jonah myth may not necessarily have originated in the Mediterranean. Furthermore, similar myths often develop independently; deluge or flood myths occur outside of the Judeo-Christian tradition, because catastrophic flash-floods aren't relegated to the Holy Land.

Cheers,
Clem
 
bobwonderbuns said:
When cut open an animal weighing 1,500 lbs. was found in is stomach. Its hide which was three inches thick, without scales, resembled that of an elephant.”

At that size it's only a quarter of a London bus bigger than a Stella's sea cow - and it could have been pregnant.
 
Having studied sharks for a very, very long time, I can assure you that the teeth do differ from subadults to adults...hence the variences between megs and whites...but, you obviously fall into the spectrum of the normal fish people.
 
Here's my :twocents:...

Great white or Megalodon could be possible. Great whites are thought to get 25 feet long (some dispute this figure). Back then Great Whites could have been larger before humans totally fished the ocean of many inhabitants. As for the item in it's stomach, my thought is Southern Elephant Seal - their range now (though rare) is as far north as the equator on the Atlantic side of S. America. They are definitely big enough (males are about 5000 pounds and females 1500 pounds). They are also eaten by great white sharks...
 
Ladies and gentlemen, I think we can safely assume the whale shark story to be correct, the animal in the picture on top of the wagon most positively is Rhincodon typus. The fact that this species of shark also has the aforementioned array of thousands of teeth at its disposal, further strengthens the argument. I'm also tempted to believe this particular specimen might have inadvertantly scooped up a dead manatee, provided its gullet would be large enough.

I'm with clem on the Jonah myth.
 
cthulhu77 said:
Having studied sharks for a very, very long time, I can assure you that the teeth do differ from subadults to adults...hence the variences between megs and whites...but, you obviously fall into the spectrum of the normal fish people.

Greg, would you concur that great whites, giving birth to young, and therefore sexually mature, can not be classified as sub-adults?

I prefer my megs as mysterious creatures of the deep, anyway :grin:
 
Well, as for Jonah, the fish could not be a Whale shark as these do not range into the Mediterranean. Even if a single lost specimen wandered in to the Med, the chances of it seizing a man, swallowing and him surviving, are quite frankly, zero. However, if one is looking for a large fish in the Sea, then the filter-feeding Basking shark, the world’s second largest fish, is most likely to be the culprit as the Med is within its known distribution range.

There is no convincing evidence that Megalodon survived past just over 1 million years ago. If it had I’m sure that some-one would have found evidence for it, especially as it was not believed to have been a deep sea shark and lived in coastal waters.

I’m with Clem and Ob here, the whole story is surely a myth. Like many Old Testament stories, it is a parable or tale and cannot be taken literally. Unless, just possibly, Jonah was out for a swim one day, bumped into a Basking shark and swum for shore in a panic. He could have gasped out a story about a huge fish with a mouth large enough to swallow him whole, or may have claimed that he had been swallowed. Either way, Chinese Whispers then took over, and his story became increasingly elaborated as it was passed around.

That’s the trick with oral tradition, each tale teller likes to embellish stories with their own slant…just look at the multitude of the stories about King Arthur and that tale’s origins are just 1500 years old, let alone the 8th century BC as with Jonah!
 
Now Phil, you are going to seriously tell me that you don't believe in King Arthur ? Heresy !

Yeah, the whale shark's throat is too narrow for a human, though a basking shark's isn't. And yes, the story is just a parable, but a fun one to look at, no?

As far as Megs go, what little proof exists of them is largely circumstantial, and having little to go on, it is hard to classify them at all, especially as far as habits/habitat go. I was talking to another sharkophile last night, and he had a good theory about great whites getting larger to fill the niche left by the over-whaling practice of humans. Hey, something has to eat all of those squid !
 
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