Monday June 18 2007 / Science & Technology

The grandson of famous oceanographer and filmmaker Jacques Cousteau believes that the best way to learn about sharks is to become one.

Fabien Cousteau, inspired as a child by the comic book Red Rackham's Treasure, where the main character, Tintin, adventures underwater in a shark-shaped submarine, decided as an adult to build his own.

"It's the same thought process as Jane Goodall or Diane Fossey. You don't want to separate yourself from the animal. You want to be part of the animal's realm," Cousteau said.

The sub-shark's designer, Eddie Paul, has a history with the Cousteaus. Back in 1989, he was commissioned to build a robotic shark for Jean-Michel (Fabien's father) and Jacques. The robotic shark "Allison" was tethered to a shark cage and contained a hidden camera to better observe the sharks in action.

On the last day of shooting, the shark was made to list to one side and move erratically as though it were injured, causing the alpha female great white to "decide to end the poor robot shark's tortured life by taking a death blow to its gills, crushing it into a million pieces," said Fabien Cousteau with a mock sigh.

For more information, please check out this article on www.Wired.com and another on DeeperBlue.

For a National Geographic slideshow, please clickhere

I cannot help but wonder if they thought to make the model deliberately unattractive. An amorous suitor might easily cause as much trouble as an agressive one!

Suggested by
Ian Skellern