Hybrid sharks and Hasselhoff crabs: Why the ocean is trying to kill you

Science, yo


Would you rather find yourself swimming in the ocean with a shark that is a hybrid of two other sharks, or a crab that has been named after American acting treasure David Hasselhoff? And no you can’t say both, no matter how currently paralyzed you are by the urge to do so.

Before you make your decision, let us realize first that the ocean is, of course, filled shelf to shelf with hideous terrors, like those fish that make their own lights, giant goopy squid and giant goopy squid that make their own lights, probably to aid them in eating humans. (There are also eels, of which I do not approve one little bit.) I’m pretty sure that’s the only reason the ocean is there, to serve as a huge Hideous Terrors Production Machine, as well as serve as a super-convenient dumping ground for our industrial waste.

But this week we can add two new items to the list, which is good, because I I haven’t experienced a pants-dampening fear of swimming in the ocean in a while. (Full disclosure: I’ve been snorkeling one time, and it was in Hawaii, and I was nearly devoured whole by a monk seal, which is a lie because they don’t devour people, but it looked mean, and also the snorkeling reef than went from 30 feet deep on one side to 90,000 feet deep on the other, and a manta ray was staring at me with serial-killer eyes and making a slashing motion cross its throat with its manta ray fins, and I am not exactly filled with the desire to get back in the ocean anytime soon. Also once my wife tried to kill me with a shark. Long story.)

Yet, if I were to ever re-enter the deep blue sea, it would not be in Australia, which is where the planet’s most bloodthirsty predators go to practice being more murderous. DO NOT THINK YOU ARE FOOLING ANYONE, WALLABIES.


[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M-493KsbW6g]


Now, Australia is also home to the world’s first Hybrid Shark, so named because it’s a crossbreed of the common black-tip and the Australian black-tip, and because it runs on electricity. Scientists have found 57 of them along the coastline, though, in answer to the very first thing you and everyone else is thinking, there’s no risk of the hybrids evolving into a monstrous homicidal “mega-shark,” like Jaws, or the one that battled Godzilla in that Akira Kurosawa film.

Now, needless to say, when scientists say something like “there is no risk of the hybrids evolving into a monstrous homicidal ‘mega-shark’ ” it means there is CONSIDERABLE RISK OF THE HYBRIDS EVOLVING INTO A MONSTROUS HOMICIDAL ‘MEGA-SHARK,’ otherwise the scientists wouldn’t have even brought it up. I’m pretty sure that by the time this column sees print most of the population of Australia will have been consumed by black-tip hybrid sharks, which will have by then evolved legs, lungs and the ability to forge crude tools out of eucalyptus trees and koala parts. It is not a real good time to be a slow-moving and overweight fish in Australian waters, is what I’m saying.

Note: Hasselhoff crabs cannot give the thumbs-up

Still, it’s definitely better to be dying in Australia then alive near the Hasselhoff Crab, or the Crabblehoff, or the Hasselclaw, a creature that combines the two objects you’d least want to find yourself swimming next to you in an unfamiliar pool. Indeed, British scientists have applied the nickname “The Hoff” to a newfound species of crab, for the understandable reason that both animals boast mad-hairy chests. So once again I offer my heartfelt thanks to British scientists for the morning vomit.

Thousands of these crabs have been found along those volcanic vents where superheated water pours forth from Earth’s crust into the cold seawater, and where 99% of all bizarre oceanic creatures are purported to live. But most pleasingly, they were discovered by unmanned, robotic submarines, because if you’re gonna discover a brand-new Hasselhoof-themed animal, you pretty much have to do it via unmanned robotic vehicle.


About Jeff Vrabel

My writing has appeared in GQ, Men’s Health, Success, the Washington Post, the official BruceSpringsteen.net, Indianapolis Monthly, Billboard, Modern Bride and more. View all posts by Jeff Vrabel

4 responses to “Hybrid sharks and Hasselhoff crabs: Why the ocean is trying to kill you

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