Sharks Now Open
A large shark appears just below the surface of the water, and bites the side of a boat, showing its teeth. The screen cuts to black.
JOHN SPARKS (Curator, Sharks exhibition, American Museum of Natural History): The public perception of sharks is that they are…
A great white shark breaches the water and comes crashing down into the ocean with its mouth open, showing its teeth. The screen cuts to black.
SPARKS: … large vicious predators…
A shark swims past and then turns to face the camera swiftly.
SPARKS: … that are to be feared when you go in the water.
Nurse sharks swarm beneath the surface of the water in a marina. A hammerhead shark swims towards the camera as the American Museum of Natural History logo appears onscreen. SPARKS appears on screen speaking to camera. Text on screen reads “John Sparks, Curator, Sharks.”
SPARKS: We want sharks to be revered and not feared.
A whale shark, viewed from behind the tail, glides through the ocean.
SPARKS: Sharks, rays, skates, chimaeras–
A large group of rays swarm in a ball.
SPARKS: –go back somewhere well over 400 million years.
Inside the American Museum of Natural Histor, a huge megalodon jaw hangs in a hall. The camera cuts to a close-up of its teeth.
SPARKS: That’s older than flowering plants, it’s older than trees–
In the Museum collections, someone pulls out a tray of huge fossil shark teeth.
SPARKS: –and that pre-dates the dinosaurs by almost 200 million years.
An angelfish (a shark that looks somewhat ray-like) and a sawfish (a ray with a huge spiky saw-like nose) appear on screen.
SPARKS: And they’ve diversified into all these different groups–
A deep-sea chimaera swims slowly facing the camera.
SPARKS: –very few of which actually attack humans.
A huge manta ray glides slowly over the sandy sea floor. A deep-sea sixgill shark swims among deep-sea organisms.
SPARKS: We hope visitors will walk away from this exhibit with a new appreciation for sharks–
A bull shark swims over a sea floor of soft corals and small sea creatures.
SPARKS: –not as vicious eating machines–
A whale sharks swims past the camera.
SPARKS: –but as a very long-lived, diverse group of organisms–
A silky shark glides along a coral reef, and a tiger shark swims alongside other fish.
SPARKS: –that are critical to the habitats in which they live.
Older than dinosaurs–and more threatened than threatening–sharks are spectacular, surprising, and often misunderstood.
Discover the incredible diversity of this ancient and fascinating group of fishes in the new exhibition Sharks, featuring dozens of life-sized models ranging from 33 feet to 5 inches long, fossils from the Museum’s collections, touch-free interactive exhibits that challenge visitors to hunt like a hammerhead, and more for visitors of all ages.
Find out more about this new exhibition.