Five-metre plus white shark captured near Prince Edward Island.

The great white shark is a silent killer that can smell its prey from kilometres away. This formidable carnivore mainly hunts sea mammals and other fish, but its constant need for food drives it to sometimes take a run at animals or unusual objects just to see if they are edible… In the 1970s, the Steven Spielberg movie Jaws fuelled the mythical terror associated with the great white.

Jack Woolner and Tom Hurlbut private collection
Prince Edward Island, CANADA
© 2011, Musée du Fjord. All Rights Reserved.

Dried thorny skate.

This impish creature is in fact the dried and modified carcass of a ray. These “miniature dragons”, like the one you see now, were known and sold under the names of chimera, basilisk, and Jenny Haniver. The were featured 16th and 17th century curiosity shops.

Musée du Fjord collection
Nature 3M

© 2011, Musée du Fjord. All Rights Reserved.

Atlantic bluefin tuna skulls.

Imagine the fright of the two Newfoundland fishermen when they saw these faces rise out of the ocean depths. After having removed these strange catches from their nets, the fishermen called the RCMP. The news quickly spread to the Montreal newspapers. Later, these strange objects were finally identified. They were simply the skulls of Atlantic bluefin tuna!

The Rooms, Newfoundland and Labrador, Provincial Museum Division

Newfoundland And Labrador, CANADA
© 2011, Musée du Fjord. All Rights Reserved.

Megalodon tooth

A shark as big as a bus? Who would have believed it... But the megalodon was that big; it is the largest fish to have ever lived on the planet. Twenty million years ago, this shark populated the waters of every continent. Unequalled hunter, it even fed on whales! It is thought to have been 20 metres long and weigh 100 tonnes. It had over 200 sharp, pointed teeth set in five rows. It became extinct about two million years ago.

Musée du Fjord collection

© 2011, Musée du Fjord. All Rights Reserved.

Cartilage powder, shark fin soup, liquid cartilage, cartilage ointment, gel caps and shark liver oil.

In many cultures, sharks are venerated, especially the great white. The jaws and teeth are highly sought after collection items. In Asia, the meat and fins are used to make gourmet meals. The skin makes good quality leather and the corneas, which are much like ours, are used for grafts. Researchers are also interested in the shark’s great resistance to cancer.

Musée du Fjord collection

© 2011, Musée du Fjord. All Rights Reserved.

Learning Objectives

Learn about the precariousness of aquatic ecosystem.

Study the features of sharks, rays, and other large fish.

Find out how the lack of understanding and fear lead us to create sea monsters.

Teachers' Centre Home Page | Find Learning Resources & Lesson Plans