Episode 1 - Great White Shark
In the first programme of the series the experts travel to South Africa to dissect a Great White Shark. Weighing in at almost a ton (900kg) – and nearly fifteen feet (4.5 metres) in length – this is the largest specimen caught in the country’s shark protection nets since 2002.
Joy Reidenberg has dissected many whales, but has never ventured inside a Great White before. She uncovers the shark’s incredible array of senses, including a unique ability to detect the electro-magnetic field given off by the Earth and other creatures. And she braves a cage to see Great Whites close up in the water.
Mark Evans investigates the origins of the shark’s infamous killing bite and, out at sea, a bite force test on a live Great White shows just how powerful those jaws really are. Richard Dawkins explains how the teeth and jaws evolved from the shark’s outer skin and gill arches. Using a massive tooth from a prehistoric shark, Simon Watt explains that there were once sharks three times bigger than the largest Great Whites – up to sixty feet in length!
During the dissection, the team reveal how the Great White’s gigantic liver has played a key role in the shark becoming the biggest fish in the sea. The programme also investigates whether the animal’s reputation as a man killer is really deserved.