Thanks to "Jaws," "Deep Blue Sea" and Discovery Channel's "Shark Week," sharks are seen as unstoppable, merciless murder machines, the biggest douchebags of the seven seas.
The truth is probably much different. Sure, sharks are a miracle of evolutionary design, but the number of shark attacks on humans around the world every year is actually quite low. According to the University of Florida's Museum of Natural History, only 72 unprovoked shark attacks were recorded in 2014 worldwide, with a sizable chunk occurring in Florida.
That doesn't mean you should run out to the ocean and hug the first shark you see, but if you know how to behave around them, they can actually be quite majestic and beautiful to watch. Take, for instance, some recent footage of an experienced deep-sea diver interacting with a great white shark off the coast of Guadalupe Island near Mexico's Baja California peninsula.
The footage first appeared Tuesday on the Facebook page of a diver named Mauricio Hoyos Padilla, the director-general of a marine-conservation group called Pelagios-Kakunjá. The video features a group of divers in shark cages who capture the attention of a massive shark. Some of the divers probably started freaking out when they saw the massive creature headed their way, but one of the divers who ventured out of the cage got close enough to the shark to touch its fin, and the shark simply swims around him and doesn't appear to be bothered by his "finshake," which, Live Science reports, was actually an attempt to protect the shark.
"It was really close to the cage, and they have pointy ends. It is so big it couldn't turn properly. So he was trying to push her away, because he didn't want her to get hurt," Hoyos Padilla told Live Science.
As for me, if I were in the cage and saw a giant shark in my presence, I would have greeted him with a friendly stream of urine -- and the shark's reaction could have been much different.
Update, Friday at 4:38 p.m. PT: This story has been updated with information on the dive master reaching out to try to protect the shark from harm.
(Via The Guardian)