Jaws is a famous movie about sharks, and it has been scaring some people for almost 50 years since it came out in 1975. A new study by shark researchers analyzed 109 shark movies and showed that all but one of them, Finding Dory, showed sharks as monsters that can attack people.
The friendly whale shark (Rhincodon typus) from “Finding Dory” (2016). Image courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures Pixar Animation Studios.
The study’s authors think that movies may be a big reason that people are scared of sharks and actively want to hunt them in the ocean. They note though that sharks are not really monsters like they are shown in the movies.
The chance of getting bitten by another human is much, much larger than getting bitten by a shark. Hundreds of millions of people go in the ocean every year. In 2020 there were 13 recorded instances of sharks fatally biting humans.
Sharks swimming off the coast of O‘ahu, Hawai‘i. Image courtesy of Jakob Owens.