Thursday, 19 July 2012
The megamouth shark is 14 to 18 feet long – a filter feeder not much shorter than the dreaded great white shark – but it remained undiscovered by science until 1976. Fish live in a different world to ours. They do not have to rise to the surface to breathe, and unlike whales and the giant squid, they are not in the habit of regularly getting themselves stranded on the beach. Thus, a large species which is nevertheless rare, might well remain unrecorded for a long time. This may have been the case of the thing which approached the beach in southeast Queensland in the mid-1990s. On 4 December 1996, I was on talk back radio promoting my book, Bunyips and Bigfoots, when phone call arrived from a listener, who wanted to report a sighting of a large fish off a local beach. I asked for the telephone number, and the upshot was that I was able to interview the witness by phone that evening.