Seen here dropping like a billion kids off in the deep-end of the pool, whale sharks are mysterious leviathans of the sea. And now, thanks to one man's quest to collect their doodie, some questions might finally get answered. LOLWUT?!
Georgia Aquarium zoologist Alistair Dove snapped the photograph from the window of a Cessna plane during a recent research trip to the Gulf of Mexico, where he studies whale sharks. He's been less successful in capturing whale shark defecation in the water, though not for lack of trying. It's hard to keep up with the fast-cruising giants, and their deposits fall quickly. And for a zoologist like Dove, the feces are research treasure.
Dove estimated the main plume in the photograph to be 30 feet long and 20 feet wide, and the smaller about 8 feet by 10 feet. If it's three feet thick, the nutrient slurry would have a volume of 2,000 cubic feet. "Imagine you've got a big aggregation, dozens or hundreds of whale sharks, doing this all at the same time. That's a lot of nutrients," he said. Dove hopes to collect samples from just such a group.
"Nobody has done this analysis yet," said Dove, who referenced a scene from Jurassic Park, when Laura Dern's character is ecstatic at the chance to poke through a pile of dinosaur droppings. "It could be a literal gold mine."
A literal gold mine! WHY DIDN'T SOMEONE TELL ME?! So check it, here's my new get-rich-quick scheme: 1. I find a whale shark and force-feed that f***er beans until it looks like it's about to explode. 2. ??? (Possibly involving a gold shit-cloud the size of a football field) 3. Profit. See you in Forbes, suckers!
Hit the jump for a closeup in case you don't know what a whale shark looks like.
Thanks to Divo, who agrees this certainly brings new meaning to the term 'fish sticks'. Pfft, sticks? That thing just dropped a whole f***ing forest!
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