Scientists taking bull shark biopsies might be the craziest thing you see today.

National Geographic’s full-court press on all-things-shark continues tonight with World’s Biggest Bull Shark? It’s probably the closest thing, in terms of length and girth, Shark Fest gets to Steven Spielberg’s uber-shark-giant, proving that real life science can be just as enthralling and awe-inspiring as any Hollywood spectacle.

When Dr. Neil Hammerschlag caught the mother of all bull sharks, it was a freak encounter that broke all the records. In 2012, off the coast of Florida, the shark scientist reeled in a specimen that stretched more than ten-feet long and weighed over 1,000 pounds. Hammerschlag and the crew named her Big Bull and set her free. Bull sharks in Florida patrol the beaches as they feast on seasonal migrations of bait fish, often swimming so close to swimmers that they’re within feet of each other. Some scientists believe that Big Bull is the matriarch of a unique population of giants. World’s Biggest Bull Shark? takes its viewers on the journey to establish the truth.


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Surprisingly, scientists knew very little about bull sharks at the time of Hammerschlag’s run-in. The first thing researchers needed to establish in World’s Biggest Bull Shark was whether other large bull sharks in the area are descendents of Big Bull. Next they wanted to understand how she got so much bigger than other bull sharks. Over the course of the expedition, the crew search sunken ghost shipwrecks and even get into some nail-biting deep-sea drama thanks to a suicidal mahi-mahi.

Still, nothing can deter them from swimming among packs of bull sharks searching for the 10-foot creature from almost a decade ago. When it comes to choosing between personal safety and getting the sample, the latter wins every time. Watching how these scientists poke and pierce wild bull sharks in order to get biopsy samples, yet never get attacked, is probably one of the most amazing things you’ll see.

Fans jonesing to be amazed by the splendor and general impressiveness of massive sharks won’t be disappointed by World’s Biggest Bull Shark?. And for viewers not yet part of the fan club, the site of Big Bull might convert more than a few to the group. Of course, the amazing footage we’ve come to expect from National Geographic doesn’t hurt.

World’s Biggest Bull Shark? premieres July 13, at 10/9c on National Geographic.

IMAGE CREDIT: National Geographic


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