Discovery channel touts… giant shark. You KNEW this was coming, didn’t you? (UPDATE: Pwned)

Discovery Channel, originator of the mermaid “documentary”, is now hyping the idea that the giant prehistoric shark, Megalodon, is still alive out there. Once again, they are getting pummeled by actual scientists and science writers whom they did not seek to consult.

Take a look at their promotional video.

I see some CGI, lots of potentially less extraordinary explanations to consider and drama, lots o’drama.
You can vote! (Because apparently truth is a democracy.)
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Shark Week: Megalodon Poll : Discovery Channel.

Megalodon went extinct 2 million years ago. But he is still popular in culture because, COME ON, IT’S A GIANT SHARK! How can you not love that idea?

By just suggesting that Megalodon is still alive is a signal that they are off on the fantasy trail since no scientist currently would agree there is good evidence it still exists. Another epic fail. How low can you go, Discovery? The only thing positive I can say about this is that at least Megalodon once DID actually exist and they are going to be talking about what we do know about it from fossil evidence (at least I would guess they would talk about that), which is WAY more than you can say about mermaids. (Note that Megalodon appeared in the “Mermaids” documentary)

I’m not against Shark Week on Discovery because sharks need our protection, not our derision. However, I do not condone efforts like this that use fake graphics, mock ups and unwarranted speculation to present a false idea about nature. It’s disingenuous and, sadly, Discovery (and its sister network Animal Planet) seems bent on that marketing idea. As Ed Yong said, “pathetic”. I agree.

Here are some other responses:

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UPDATE (4-Aug-13): Brian Switek now has this post up.

The fossil record for C. megalodon peters out in sediments about 2 million years old. The only teeth so far found in younger deposits have been reworked from older strata. Furthermore, there are no giant, fresh teeth littering the seafloor, no whale carcasses with distinctive bite marks washing up on shore, and no tangible evidence whatsoever that the shark exists. And all the stories… are just stories.

Addition: Snopes debunks part of the show. Because, yes, people DO believe it’s real.

Record ratings. That’s just great…

Feel free to express your disgust to Discovery Channel. I did, on their Facebook page.

UPDATE (9-Aug-13) Discovery gets pwned by the Daily Show. Also, see this post by Brian Switek. Yes, Discovery, you suck monster shark balls.

Discovery is a joke: It Came From Basic Cable – Phenomena: Laelaps.

  35 comments for “Discovery channel touts… giant shark. You KNEW this was coming, didn’t you? (UPDATE: Pwned)

  1. Chris Howard
    August 3, 2013 at 4:28 PM

    When I was in advertising I had a friend who worked as a research assistant for an oceanographer, in Southern California.

    It was around the time that Disney was set to release the animated movie “Atlantis”.

    He said that he was on a conference call with a reporter, a philosopher, an underwater archeologist, and a Greek historian.

    The reporter was doing a piece on Atlantis, and was interested in the various disciplines perspectives. Apparently he didn’t like the general consensus, which was that Atlantis was an allegory, and not a real place.

    He thanked them, and hung up the phone. My friend told me that a week, or so, later a piece came out by that reporter but contained none of the facts, only pseudoscientific clap-trap.

    Turned out that the paper was owned by Disney, and they wanted to generate interest in the movie. So every time I hear about something like this it makes me wonder if a parent company isn’t staging a publicity event for an upcoming project.

  2. spookyparadigm
    August 3, 2013 at 4:29 PM

    1. Someone should start a petition to require the Discovery cable networks to change their name to Barnum entertainment. Pointless to be sure, but still.

    2. Some of the CGI I believe is from this

  3. Sam
    August 3, 2013 at 4:40 PM

    we’re gonna need a bigger boat 🙂

  4. gewsin
    August 3, 2013 at 4:42 PM

    So, you’re telling me that there was no SuperStorm Sandy Megaladon Sharnado?

  5. August 3, 2013 at 6:24 PM

    I give them two years before they claim Cthulhu is real.

  6. Kiljoy616
    August 4, 2013 at 1:00 AM

    Oh goody one more animal to wipe out. Sweet shark fin.

    Sorry but could not help my self, Discovery Channel where you can discover what Orwell was talking about when he said Doublespeak. Oh how I miss the old Discovery.

  7. John A. Dodge
    August 4, 2013 at 9:15 PM

    We’re gonna need a bigger grill,,, and more tartar sauce.

  8. Pamela
    August 4, 2013 at 9:47 PM

    So sad. I miss what the Discovery Channel used to be.

  9. Punta Cana
    August 4, 2013 at 9:49 PM

    I just changed the channel. I cannnot watch a show where they are blatantly lying and acting like their is some truth to this. The only way it will stop is if million others do the same. The reason they do this is simple they need to sensationilize their shows to increase viewership so the a-holes in wall street stay happy. They trade under the ticker ‘DISCA’. I like to watch these shows with my son to educate him, not to explain to him for an hour that they do not exist anymore. So disappointed DC.

  10. Susanne
    August 4, 2013 at 10:12 PM

    Oh, so disappointed! Get better graphics actors and wigs!!!

    Really…. It’s 2013!

  11. James
    August 4, 2013 at 10:13 PM

    I’m watching this right now, and I can’t find any actual online evidence of anything they claim. Like, they’re giving exact dates for events where people supposedly died and there’s nothing about it on google. Granted, I don’t watch a lot of TV, but this is shocking to me. Since when was it OK for a show to deliberately present itself as a documentary and do this? Even the Marine Biologist they credit doesn’t seem to exist. They also claim to start a clearly high budget production two days after a sudden event in South Africa. I am blown away, and not in a good way.

  12. Eric L
    August 4, 2013 at 10:15 PM

    I’m glad to see others agree that this Megalodon show is ridiculous. It reminds me of Big Foot and Loch Ness Monster shows. He’s the “expert they call first when something goes wrong in the ocean” ??? He’s the Geraldo Rivera of the sea. Why when I Google search the boat being sunk in Hout Bay, do I get many articles on a totally different boat wreck with survivors, and not the one they keep mentioning? I call bulls&!t on the whole show.

  13. TJ
    August 4, 2013 at 10:16 PM

    Are the megalodon’s being herded by the mermaids? Maybe they can tell the scientists where to find them.

  14. SlyMoose14
    August 4, 2013 at 10:22 PM

    I’m missing the part where I can find any information about the boat accident that lead to this whole show…being only a few months old, news reports and articles would be everywhere…plus I have not heard anything from family I have there. Disappointed. If anyone does find info from, please post links!

  15. pat mac
    August 4, 2013 at 10:22 PM

    this is worse than the blairwitch project. When did the discovery channel combine with the scify channel?

  16. Susanne
    August 4, 2013 at 10:42 PM

    Nice chum slick!!!

    It’s bigger than the Exxon spill!!!

    It gets worse and worse….

    I’m done!

  17. Ken
    August 4, 2013 at 10:54 PM

    Wow! Exxon would be proud of “power chumming” with the “Chum guns!” Seriously?? That 5 mile chum slick probably wasn’t photo-shopped…cause any region I know of would want that done in their waterways!

  18. spookyparadigm
    August 4, 2013 at 11:01 PM

    At least we can now more directly pinpoint blame at the top of Discovery’s management, it isn’t just Animal Planet and its mermaids.

  19. HelpTheSystem!
    August 4, 2013 at 11:38 PM

    So scientists have never captured great whites mating or giving birth, the first footage of giant squid was only captured in 2012 after countless attempts, yet on their first attempt a “research vessel” finds a fish that has been extinct for 10 million years? They lost me at Discovery Channel presents!

  20. gladpants
    August 5, 2013 at 12:16 AM

    I used to watch shark week and call in to win prizes. I won a book about sharks. I loved shark week growing up because I learned so much. Where is all the new science from this past year. That’s what I want. Not some spectical.

  21. Clarrisa
    August 5, 2013 at 1:45 AM

    This is so disappointing. I miss the old channel like many of you and am struggling with watching their documentaries because I don’t want them to think this mockumentary bs is okay.

  22. August 5, 2013 at 1:48 AM

    For those dimwits out there defending the Discovery Channel’s blatant fraud and fakery, consider that Discovery Communications International (DCI) describes all its programming as “NON-FICTION”:

    “DCI both produces original television programming and acquires content from producers worldwide. This non-fiction programming is offered through DCI’s 28 network entertainment brands, including Discovery Channel, Military Channel, The Learning Channel, Animal Planet, Discovery Fit & Health, and a family of digital channels.”

    Non-fiction programming, indeed. Between Mermaids and Megalodon, Discovery has totally blown its “non-fiction” credibility.

  23. Mwilson
    August 5, 2013 at 2:17 AM

    Whale washed up on shore in Hawaii was hit by a boat prop. I live hear and have seen the similar damage. Many other species if mammals have been unfortunately named or killed by the numerous tour and private boating activities. To use this horrible loss of a beautiful sea mammal as an example of an extinct creature is irresponsible. Place the blame on ships and irresponsible tour groups. We can protect whales from us. This is a fact. Shame in Discovery for misleading the public.
    Hawaii born and raised five generations

  24. Fred Culbertson
    August 5, 2013 at 11:01 AM

    Sad thing here is, If the Discovery channel will air their best show (Shark Week) pushing off actors as scientist with falsified claims about boat attacks and Megalodons just to sucker you in for show ratings, how credible can any of their other shows be? This used to be a great place to involve your kids with educational science TV. Now its nothing more than another reality show sell out. What a joke the Discovery channel has turned out to be. Shark after Dark, Need I say more? I guess all we have left is Nat Geo.

  25. Mike T
    August 5, 2013 at 3:13 PM

    Shark Weak. I was so let down as soon as I saw the opening shots of the boat. You can just tell it was a mockumentary. Something i NEVER expected from Shark Week. My whole family was excited, as we loved this week each year. The TV would be on all day and evening to watch. Damn, Discovery…. Please don’t go the way of MTV. You were my favorite channel.

  26. Fred Fairweather
    August 5, 2013 at 3:15 PM

    Just shameful. Who is responsible for that crap? Done with Discovery Channel. Done with Shark week: it’s now worse than the SciFy channel which at least doesn’t try to take itself seriously. At least they could have had their “mockumentary” star Tiffany and Debbie Gibson. Perhaps the Megalodon chopping up Honey Boo-Boo and her clan (then spitting them out!) Now THAT would be some good watchin’!

  27. Fred Fairweather
    August 5, 2013 at 3:28 PM


    Didn’t you realize? Cthulhu was brought down accidentally by a errant drone strike in the Middle East. Our troop are there trying to corner and capture it now. It’s the REAL reason the US troops are in the Middle East. This is a fact hidden by both George W AND Obama. Massive government cover-up! Even Bin Laden was part of it! Discovery Channel is going to break the story in September!

  28. Frank L
    August 5, 2013 at 4:56 PM

    I turned to Shark Week
    I saw a Meg’lodon
    I spat my drink out
    “What kind of drugs y’all on?
    This is some bullsh*t!”
    I turned the TV off

    Boom de yada
    Boom de yada
    Boom de yada
    Boom de yada

  29. August 5, 2013 at 5:39 PM

    I love sharks and look forward to shark week , but not anymore. Congrats Discrappery for ruining the onlty thing I watch on your now shitty network.

  30. idoubtit
    August 5, 2013 at 5:39 PM

    I noticed scientists were lambasting Discovery Channel on twitter all day. Good. They deserve to be roasted for this travesty. See here.

  31. August 6, 2013 at 3:45 AM

    They even misrepresented well known science in an effort to (somehow?) justify Megalodon as a Lazarus Taxa, they said that the pygmy right whale had been assumed to be extinct for the past two million years and was rediscovered in 2010! When in actuality the pygmy right whale has been known since the mid 1800’s (AND hunted by whalers), it was in 2010 that it was determined that it was not actually related to the right whale, but belong to a clade where all the other members have been extinct for 2 million years.

    The rest was so abysmal but had such a slick veneer of ‘scienciness’ about it that… ugh… hate to say it, but Sharknado! was almost more factually correct and believable.

  32. August 6, 2013 at 5:07 PM

    sharkotopus is way more cooler. roger corman is the man

  33. Graham
    August 6, 2013 at 10:33 PM

    Jason Colavito weighs in on the debate and finds it ironic that people who never questioned ‘Ancient Aliens’ seem to be reacting negatively about this mockumentary.

  34. Absolutely outraged
    August 12, 2013 at 12:56 AM

    My girlfriend and I got into an argument over this crap because she actually bought into their bullshit! I was trying to show her the facts! If someone could explain to me how an animal that massive could come out of extinction that would be great..oh wait. It’s just like saying dinosaurs are still out there we just haven’t seen them. Give me a break! Discovery you’ve disappointed me I miss the old shark week from like 6 years ago!

  35. One Skunk Todd
    August 14, 2013 at 12:09 PM


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