Glycerol helps plump up a megamouth shark

@JudyEv (103544)
Bunbury, Australia
October 24, 2017 1:15am CST
Another exhibit at the Fremantle Maritime Museum in Western Australia was this megamouth shark. I know it’s a terrible photo but it is what it is! The megamouth shark (Megachasma pelagios) is a deepwater shark rarely seen by humans. It is one of only three remaining filter-feeding sharks, the others being the whale shark and basking shark. It was only discovered in 1976. It has a large head with rubbery lips and swims with its enormous mouth wide open. It filters the water for plankton and jellyfish. This is a male and like other male sharks and rays have a pair of ‘claspers’ under their bodies. These are used to deliver sperm to females during mating. When not needed, the claspers lie flat against the body. Only one clasper is used at a time. What is interesting is that the creature was originally preserved in formalin and then stored in ethanol in a below ground site at the museum in Perth. Later it was removed from the ethanol and soaked in a glycerol solution for nearly three years. This has resulted in a more flexible, less shrivelled shark specimen. The shark has put on 115 kg and now weighs 484 kg. Who would have thought glycerol was fattening?
19 people like this
15 responses
@LadyDuck (126055)
• Switzerland
24 Oct
The animals preserved in formalin or other liquids looks so creepy to me. I always avoided those rooms in the museums.
4 people like this
@JudyEv (103544)
• Bunbury, Australia
24 Oct
And there is often quite a nasty smell. I can understand you avoiding such areas.
2 people like this
@LadyDuck (126055)
• Switzerland
24 Oct
@JudyEv You are right, I cannot stand that smell.
2 people like this
• Peoria, Arizona
24 Oct
That is so interesting! I had no idea
4 people like this
@JudyEv (103544)
• Bunbury, Australia
24 Oct
I thought it was pretty cool - that glycerol would de-shrivel it.
1 person likes this
@Juliaacv (24397)
• Canada
24 Oct
I did not know that glycerol could do that either. I will have to research this type of shark to see what he looks like.
3 people like this
@JudyEv (103544)
• Bunbury, Australia
24 Oct
It was impossible to get a good photo of it in the chamber.
1 person likes this
@amadeo (50970)
• United States
24 Oct
Not sure about this.I will go along with@LadyDuck on this.
2 people like this
@JudyEv (103544)
• Bunbury, Australia
24 Oct
There wasn't any smell with this one which was good.
@JudyEv (103544)
• Bunbury, Australia
24 Oct
@LadyDuck I don't usually like stuffed animals. Any with fur usually look very moth-eaten.
1 person likes this
@LadyDuck (126055)
• Switzerland
24 Oct
@JudyEv I fully agree with you, they do not look nice at all.
1 person likes this
@TRBRocks420 (64263)
• Banks, Oregon
24 Oct
One of my favorite types of sharks.
2 people like this
@JudyEv (103544)
• Bunbury, Australia
24 Oct
It is very different isn't it?
1 person likes this
@Daljinder (19944)
• India
24 Oct
I have never seen a preserved animal this large
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (103544)
• Bunbury, Australia
24 Oct
I hope it doesn't absorb so much glycerol that it needs a new tank.
1 person likes this
@Daljinder (19944)
• India
24 Oct
@JudyEv .or that it is too much for the body that it bursts. Now that will be nasty.
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (103544)
• Bunbury, Australia
24 Oct
@Daljinder I did wonder about that - whether it will absorb so much that the tank becomes under pressure.
1 person likes this
@YrNemo (8996)
25 Oct
can't see much from that pic can we .
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (103544)
• Bunbury, Australia
26 Oct
Not much at all but it was the best I could do. Here is a photo by: Saberwyn (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. It's the same shark but a much better photo. I think I was more concerned with being able to read the info.
1 person likes this
@YrNemo (8996)
26 Oct
@JudyEv An ugly looking creature. Imagine its descendants!
1 person likes this
@Platespinner (19022)
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
24 Oct
Somehow I suspect the shark is beyond caring.
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (103544)
• Bunbury, Australia
24 Oct
I guess it is but maybe it is pleased to have its wrinkles being filled out.
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
24 Oct
1 person likes this
@kepweng (6916)
27 Oct
i want to go in that museum is the shark already Extinct?
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (103544)
• Bunbury, Australia
27 Oct
It is not extinct but I don't think it is seen very often.
@teamfreak16 (37060)
• Colorado Springs, Colorado
27 Oct
I know absolutely nothing about this. I found it interesting.
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (103544)
• Bunbury, Australia
27 Oct
I didn't either (know much about it). I've seen preserved snakes in jars but that's about it.
1 person likes this
@UncleJoe (9040)
• Virginia Beach, Virginia
24 Oct
Probably would have been prettier with Botox.
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (103544)
• Bunbury, Australia
25 Oct
It would have taken a lot of Botox to fill out this guy's wrinkles!
1 person likes this
@snowy22315 (35993)
• United States
24 Oct
A megamouth shark, now that is one I haven't heard of before!
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (103544)
• Bunbury, Australia
24 Oct
It has a very strange looking head. At least it doesn't eat people.
@LoriAMoore (9795)
• United States
24 Oct
Okay, loving the term "megamouth" and I think I'll start using it with a few people I know. LOL!
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (103544)
• Bunbury, Australia
24 Oct
I know a few 'megamouths' too.
@JohnRoberts (41816)
• Los Angeles, California
24 Oct
Must have something to do with absorbing the glycerol.
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (103544)
• Bunbury, Australia
24 Oct
I think that would be the case. I wonder if they have to keep topping up the liquid? And how do they weigh the thing anyway? So many questions.
1 person likes this
@jstory07 (59643)
• Roseburg, Oregon
24 Oct
I had no idea about this shark and I watch shark week every year and they tell you all about sharks.
1 person likes this