Mystery Of The Great Basking Shark! | Weird Creatures | Wild Things Documentary
I’m looking for the second biggest fish in the world a 10 meter industrial sized filter with fins and a creature that is still a true mystery of natural history dip your toe into the water and you two could be swimming with monsters and all of the coast of Great Britain these are notoriously fickle giant speed but undetermined to.
Meet a basking shark the Natural History Museum London my second home as a child it was.
Here that I fell in love with the diverse and bizarre world of animals which we share.
The planet with now my physics are a starting point to breathe life is the dried bones and pickled skins of some of the planet’s weird creatures the basking.
Shark is not the only big creature in the.
Sea but one of the few that’s become absolutely huge on a.
Microscopic diet how it has achieved such greatness is a marvel of evolutionary design I’m here at the Natural History Museum to talk to director of science Richard Lane about these extraordinary creatures now we think of sharks you tend.
Of something that would belong to a surge or like that classic sort of flesh-eating animal but I guess you could say this is.
A relatively small shark yeah this feeds on rezi large prey items compared with the two largest fish in the ocean the whale shark and the basking shark.
Now weighs all that bow I mean how does a basking shark or a whale shark get so big on food items that you can barely see I guess it goes back to very early on in the evolution of sharks they.
Took a sign turning they stayed to be predators you’ve got to remember that basking sharks are predators but they’re not hunting for a few occasional large items they are.
Feeding all the time they’re feeding as you said on this little zooplankton before we go any further I need to introduce you to plankton which is our basking sharks favor of food now plankton is a mass of many tiny organisms.
That drift on ocean currents there are two main types there’s phytoplankton which is with the tiny plants and zooplankton which is made up of tiny animals but also includes the early stages of much bigger creatures like crabs and shrimps and fish.
And it is this zooplankton that our Bhaskar’s are out to find now.
Back to the story now if you actually feed on zooplankton you can eat the same amount of meat in a day.
But you’ve got to catch millions and millions of little things in which to get that same amount of meat.
From them now to do that you’ve got to be a fairly big structure this kind of is a catch-22 situation yeah got to be big in order to catch enough for the.
Little things just sort of feed your big body yeah and the basking shark has got to be in the right.
Place because otherwise it’s sifting sea water with nothing in it and that I believe is part of the secret as he’s finding our basking shark if we can understand a bit more about the plankton where that is we should find the sharks themselves our.
Best chance of encountering a basking shark in British waters is along the Cornish coast then there’s a peninsula to be precise now it’s early June and like the English summer the shark season is just beginning to warm up a mullion cove is where we’ll find our boat and it’s skipper barramundi a fisherman named after a fish because.
Yesterday was absolutely condition exactly that we are stuck in traffic jam it ended with John Nightingale and local shark expert on hand to help spotting all eyes a trainer always waiting for the first flicker of a fee in.
The last three days have been ideal for them because you know there’s been no wind a lot of sunshine in a sort of glassy sort of water and you want you.
Want the in plankton to come to the surface so that that’s when they come up you know but as.
The hours roll by the great British summer rose in any karma just put up around the outside of the the outside listen raffia now all right okay so these conditions the plankton is literally going to be stirred up yeah it’s amazing it looks so calm when we’re on land it’s a classic sunny day the sort of day that makes you want to tear your clothes off head down to the coast did you get here.
Yeah it’s just I don’t know if it suddenly change always just always be like this we just come around there around the head now and it’s so got quite a big swell off with the easterly wind it’s just a little bit a little bit bumpy in the beginning when we left I thought there might have been pretty good but seeing this amount of windy on the lizard I don’t think we’re going to see a.
Lot today as Barry’s words sinking all I could think about was dry land and how long it would take before I can get my feet back on it and Basking must be the last of our Sharks minds especially this way so in the absence of any sharks today Berry’s about to give.
Us a little more hopefully a little consolation prize in the form.
Largest mammals in and among the rocks in these fairly inaccessible coves on this part the Cornish coast that’s our consolation prize.
We have a great seal one of only two seal species that we get around our coasts very obviously a great seal because that wonderful sort of Roman nose that kind of dog shaped head especially in profile like that if we approach the seal carefully we should get a good look at him underwater now the gray seal is Britain’s largest native mammal.
With the male’s growing to over three metres.
Long and weighing in at a whopping 300 kilos bit of a nervous seal problem in that every time we get near it it disappears back into the cave now one thing you need to know about a gray seals ball is they’re they’re very big imagine a an animal with the hardware of now station but double.
The body rate and you’re getting there last thing I want to do is corner one so even though we haven’t had it a very successful day it’s been a good one no I mean and that wasn’t to be my last encounter with local Cornish wildlife when you’re in this game you always expect the.
Unexpected I’ll sing a tooth my toes in a minute you got betrassus these come from all smelling get a whiff of that agree with you but hopefully one good deed deserves another and tomorrow it’ll be our turn for.
A little luck as we take to the Cornish Seas once more in search of the elusive basking shark back at the Natural History Museum James MacLean their.