Let’s address this shark swimming across the street in Maryland citing the most recent inland flooding.
This TikTok video was posted by multiple people and also has gathered the interest from various viewers on various social media platforms (Facebbok….I mean Meta, Instagram, Snap, etc…).
It seems that the video depicts a shark swimming on land across a residential street/roadway right in front of a motorist in Ocean City, Maryland.
While the posted comments are more of a tongue and cheek moment (#SharkWeek) – it does cause some alarm as the State of Maryland has seen some vicious flooding this past week.
Now I know what you are thinking….sharks in the subway or sharks on the highway or maybe even some humor with shark week. But in reality, there are some clues that anyone could apply and see that this video has been staged.
First off, the dorsal fin is propped upright…indicative of a shark type. But without a full picture, it’s hard to tell what kind of shark it is.
Second, while we do not need to know what kind of shark, we do know that sharks use their caudal fin aka tail fin in a side-to-side motion to propel them through the water. In concert with their side-to-side body motions, sharks are efficient swimmers and are very smooth.
Here’s just one article from Harvard on sharks and their propulsion. https://hmsc.harvard.edu/sharks
Not enough? Here’s an article from HowStuffWorks on sharks and how they swim. https://animals.howstuffworks.com/fish/sharks/shark2.htm – Take special note of the “tail is like the shark’s propeller.”
But wait, sharks have two sets of fins at the bottom. Could those be propelling them along? Nope. Those are for guidance, not propulsion. Additionally, some sharks have an anal fin on their underside. That is also used for guidance not as propulsion.
Third, the shark’s movement in the video is inconsistent with typical shark movements in the water. Esp with the tail fin drooping. Obv it’s hard to propel yourself with a droopy tail right?
In fact, if you watch closely, the shark’s movement is more associated with a human who is hand-pulling the shark’s carcass or what appears to be a shark’s body across the front of the vehicle. Like hand-over-hand, arms length movements, pulled from outside of camera view.
It is most apparent with the last 8 seconds of the video where the shark has a forward and backwards motion.
So by simple deduction, the video is fake with a human (off camera) pulling what appears to be a dead shark or replica of a shark.
More importantly, this kind of staged video is meant to gander likes/views on social media and serves no purpose on platforms as it incites fear and spreads mis-information.
If you are a seasoned PIO or community leader, investigate further and consider flagging this as inappropriate content that could add to fear, mis-information, and of course social media BS.
Consider sharing with your colleagues because we as professionals don’t have time for this kind of staged mis-information…esp during an emergency or crisis.