New Study Reveals First Cookie Cutter Shark Attack on Live Human

by Owen James Burke

On March 16, 2009, a swimmer was attempting to cross the channel from Hawaii to Maui when just after sunset he felt a “pin prick” on his chest, and then again on his left calf on the way out of the water and into the rescue boat. Two other incidents of cookie cutter attacks on humans are included in the International Shark Attack File, but both of those were assumed to have occurred post-mordem.

Cookie cutter sharks (Isistius brasiliensis) are small, with adults only reaching about two feet in length, though “they have the biggest teeth of any shark in relation to the size of their jaws” said George Burgess, director of the International Shark Attack File housed at the Florida Museum of Natural History on the University of Florida campus.

The cookie cutter does not usually kill, but leaves its victims with significant tissue loss, agonizing pain, and in need of plastic surgery, in the case of a human. Unlike other sharks, their teeth are connected at the bottom between the upper and lower jaws, so a bite from them is perfectly circular and similar to a giant ice cream scoop, or more specifically, what came out of this tuna below.

The cookie cutter inhabits deep tropical waters and common prey there include whales, tuna, dolphin and swordfish. If they grew any bigger, we might be in real trouble.

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*ufl via stokereport, images via fishingfury and howstuffworks*

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