The Jeff Wise Blog

Stuff of Nightmares, Pt. 2: Shark Attack Quiz

Hopefully this information will never be relevant to you, but here goes: if you’re ever attacked and eaten by a shark, what part of your body is most likely to be found? Go ahead, chew that over. The answer is after the jump.

Your lungs. According to a new study tweeted about by noted brain-blogger, Vaughan Bell, in two recent cases of fatal Australian shark attack, the only body parts to be recovered were parts of the lungs. The reason? The lung tissue of a living, breathing person is filled with air-filled sacs much like the bubble wrap you find in a mail-order box, so it’s the most buoyant part, hence most likely to float to the surface and be found.

Not only is this information gruesomely intriguing, but the authors say it could be useful for CSI types:

Aeration of the lung would be in keeping with death from trauma rather than from drowning and may be a useful marker in unwitnessed deaths to separate ante- from postmortem injury, using only relatively small amounts of tissues. Early organ recovery enhances the identification of human tissues as the extent of morphologic alterations by putrefactive processes and sea scavengers will have been minimized. DNA testing is also possible on such recovered fragments, enabling confirmation of the identity of the victim.

Filed under: Phobias

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Thinking About Fear & the Brain

If I find myself in a severe crisis, will I be able to keep it together? How can I control anxiety and panic? Is it possible to lead a life less bounded by fear? These are the sorts of questions that I'll be exploring in this blog, an offshoot of my book, Extreme Fear: The Science of Your Mind in Danger, published on December 8, 2009 by Palgrave Macmillan.

Video Introduction

Also by Jeff Wise

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