From Jaws to The Meg, many of the most popular thrillers in Hollywood history feature violent shark attacks.
While these films are perfect for movie night, scientists say they create “excessive fear” of sharks in the real world.
In a new study, scientists from the University of South Australia analyzed 683 creature features.
Their analysis found that sharks top the list of animals most depicted in films – with the vast majority depicting them in a negative light.
“Films such as ‘Jaws,’ ‘The Meg,’ or ‘The Shallows’ depict sharks deliberately hunting and attacking humans, which not only creates excessive fear but reinforces negative opinions people may already have,” he said. said Dr. Brianna Le Busque, project leader. author of the study.
From Jaws to The Meg, many of the most popular thrillers in Hollywood history feature violent shark attacks. While these films are perfect for movie night, scientists say they create “excessive fear” of sharks in the real world.
In a new study, scientists from the University of South Australia analyzed 683 creature features. Pictured: Deep blue sea
READ MORE: Global shark attack hotspots REVEALED
The majority of unprovoked shark attacks were recorded last year in the United States and Australia, but single bites also occurred in New Zealand, Thailand and Brazil.
According to Florida MuseumThere have been only 57 confirmed cases of unprovoked shark attacks worldwide in 2022, nine of which were fatal.
Despite this, fear of sharks – also known as galeophobia – is one of the most common phobias worldwide.
“When you hear about shark ‘attacks’, it definitely puts people on edge,” Dr Le Busque said.
“Since most people don’t have personal interactions with sharks, most of what we know about sharks comes from what we see on TV or in movies.”
In their study, the researchers sought to understand the extent to which sharks are overrepresented in “creature films,” that is, films where animals are the villains.
The team analyzed 683 films in total and found that almost a fifth (19.5%) featured a shark.
This is followed by insects and arachnids (18.7 percent), dinosaurs (11.5 percent), snakes (7.7 percent) and crocodilians (5.7 percent).
“Sharks are commonplace in ‘creature feature’ films, they are over-represented, being the most common animal in this category of films,” said Dr Le Busque.
The team analyzed 683 films in total and found that almost a fifth (19.5%) featured a shark. In the photo: the shallows
Researchers say this overrepresentation – dubbed the Jaws effect – fuels fear of sharks. Pictured: 2021 hit, Bait
“Furthermore, of all films that depict sharks (in various genres), 96% overtly present shark-human interactions as threatening.”
Researchers say this overrepresentation fuels fear of sharks.
“This is now known as the ‘Jaws effect,’ a known phenomenon where people have an excessive and irrational fear of sharks, almost 50 years after the first ‘Jaws’ movie,” added Dr. Le Busque.
Besides the fear of sharks themselves, researchers say shark films also exploit another common fear.
In this study, researchers analyzed how the depiction of animals in films has changed over the years.
In their study, published in the Journal of Environmental Media, the researchers wrote: “Movies about sharks also exploit another common fear among people, the fear of open water, known as thalassophobia.
“Since the goal of creature features is to entertain audiences through fear, it is more effective to exploit two fears simultaneously.”
In addition to creating excessive fear of sharks, researchers say the Jaws effect has more serious consequences.
“This influences people’s perceptions of sharks, impacts conservation efforts and affects policy decisions,” concluded Dr Le Busque.
The vanished beast from below: the megalodon roamed the seas more than 3.6 million years ago
In the photo: Megalodon
Megalodon, which means big tooth, lived between 23 and 3.6 million years ago.
O. megalodon is considered one of the largest and most powerful predators in vertebrate history and fossil remains suggest it could grow up to 65 feet long.
The monster is thought to have resembled a stockier version of today’s much-feared great white shark and weighed up to 100 tonnes.
The megalodon is recognizable by its enormous vertebrae and teeth, which are triangular and measure almost eight inches in diagonal length.
Famed fossil hunter Vito “Megalodon” Bertucci took nearly 20 years to reconstruct a megalodon jawbone – the largest ever assembled – which measures 11 feet in diameter and nearly 9 feet high.
The colossal mouth of the Megalodon would have produced a brute force of 10.8 to 18.2 tons.
The ancient shark was described as a super predator because it could swim at high speeds and quickly kill a wide variety of prey, such as sea turtles and whales, in its powerful jaws.