Greenland shark

Bigger than a great white shark, it’s a crocodile that tastes like cheese… and has proven to be rather helpful for us monkeys that make stuff… sometimes this stuff just writes itself…

'Huzzah!'

In the icy Arctic seas lives a massive shark; the Greenland shark – Somniosus microcephalus ‘the sleepy one with the tiny head’. It’s not the only name this chap is known by; the sleeper shark, the gurry shark, the grey shark. Not to mention a number of aboriginal names such as; iqalujjuak, eqalussuaq that roughly translate as ‘that shark we should remember next time we play Scrabble.’

The shark is rather hard to eat, not content with being a shark and therefore not the first thing you’d want to wrestle into a kitchen, the fearsome bugger is also poisonous. You can however render it edible by boiling it for about a Wednesday or two, or simply leave it to rot in the ground one for a number of months until thoroughly manky. It is said to taste like a particularly ripe Gorgonzola, or particularly putrid poisonous shark.

A remarkably bad supper isn’t the only use for this blighter either. The Inuit refer to it as ‘the shark who provides’ and indeed it does. Back in the day the natives would use the shark as a haberdashers; the skin making natty boots. The tribes tonsorial salon was also rather obliged of the fellow too; its teeth being particularly suited to fashioning hair-do’s. Of course as man has progressed he’s found a number of other uses for the poor sod; they are a source of vitamin A and their liver can be used to produce a remarkable motor oil, not to mention plans to use them as fuel for a power station. Rather a sad ending for such a terrific beast, yes… quite… one would have to agree, but since the first baldy ape thought ‘I reckon I can do something with that’ we’ve been using bits of animal to do exactly that. Starting with clonking each other over the head with bones, not to mention clonking other creatures over the head with bones… other creatures that were soon to be turned into stuff. We made flagons for mead from their horns, and corsets from the teeth of whales. Just when the animals thought things were looking a bit peachier as the industrial revolution kicked in, we started compressing penguins into engine oil and turning whales into lipstick. We still make many things out of animals, in fact it is probably safe to say that the pig is the modern whale, from one animal literally hundreds of products are made.

make of it what you will old bean

Still back to our chum the Greenland shark. As we mentioned it’s huge, reportedly bigger than the great white. Though it appears to be something of a split personality. While it can apparently catch the most nimble of prey; seals, fish, even giant squid. No one quite knows how it does it. There is a theory that a small luminous creature that nibbles at the eye of the shark acts somewhat like an anglerfishes lure, but there is no evidence for it. It certainly is docile, the Inuit say if you ever see one you can just drag it out of the water and it will put up less of a fight than hauling a bundle of washing out of a river. Though once again there appears to be a certain duality in this chaps persona, it can also be a vicious brute. Indeed the Greenland shark is thought of as Canada’s crocodile. Like the swarms of snappy chappies of Africa that are so famous for their snaffling on wildebeest, the sirloin steaks of the Serengeti, as they splosh across the rivers of the epic plains. The Greenland shark has discovered a similar easy meal at the mouth of the St Lawrence River. When the majestic Caribou cross the epic Canadian plains, they may have to cross the river and there lying in wait are swarms of some other snappy chappies just waiting to wake up to a nice hot supper.

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Published in: on April 14, 2010 at 11:20 am  Leave a Comment  

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