Sunday, September 26, 2010

US Television, Beast Legends, Episode 1.3 "Mega Jaws"

Beast Legends
Season One, Episode Three, Mega Jaws
Original Air Date:  Thursday, September 23, 2010

In this episode of Beast Legends, the team is researching the Fijian legend of Dakuwaga, the Shark God.

While Scott, Francis and Mike stay in the lab researching the legend, Steve and Kathryn head to a small Fijian island to meet with the locals to learn more about the Dakuwaga legend.  The legend states that Dakuwaga is a shapeshifter that can be a man, sea snake or giant shark.  The Shark God protects the innocent and punishes evildoers.  The all-knowing, all-seeing Shark God has a terrifying wrath.

Tiger, reef and bull sharks are known in Fijian waters and are used as the starting point for the team to base their creature on.

On Beqa, Steve and Kathryn gain the trust of the elders and become honorary members of the village.  They go out onto the water with Manasa "Papa" Bulivou, a village elder, to learn more about the Dakuwaga legend.  They go diving with the sharks even after Papa tells them of the largest shark he's seen in the waters:  a 6.5 metre (21 ft.) female named "Scarface".  Thirty feet down, local divers feed the bull sharks while Steve manages to get some images of the animals and their teeth for the rest of the team back in the lab.  Back on land, Steve and Kathryn split up to continue interviewing the locals about the Shark God legend.

In the Beast Lab, the guys get to work constructing their Shark God.  They start with the bull shark body.  To learn more about the senses of a shark, Scott and Francis head to Bimini Island to see sharks up close and personal.  There, they meet with Dr. Sam Gruber (Director Bimini Biological Field Station) to learn more about how sharks can detect electrical fields in the water.  Francis, who can't swim, gets in the water (along with Scott) to attract the sharks so they can observe how they react around an electrical field.  Dr. Gruber shows them the lateral lines and little black dots that go down a sharks body.  The dots are filled with sensory cells to pick up vibrations in the water to enable sharks to hunt down prey more efficiently.  The info about the lateral lines is sent back to the lab where Mike adds it to their virtual shark.

Steve and Kathryn head back into the water to search the ocean floor for fallen shark teeth.  Knowing they need teeth that are larger teeth, Scott and Francis head to Gainsville, Florida at the Florida Museum of Natural History where they meet shark tooth expert George Burgess (Director, Florida Program for Shark Research).  George shows the guys several different kinds of shark teeth before taking them to a reproduction of a megalodon jaw.  The jaw houses teeth at large as 7 inches.  All the teeth are fossils, not reproductions.  The jaw itself measures 6 1/5 feet across and megalodon would be about 60 feet long.  George gives them a few tips about how the shark's tail should be so that it will be super-fast in the water.  Using the information and Francis' drawings, Mike updates their virtual shark.

To help visualize the shark, they go to the beach to build the shark to scale using sand.  With the help of Dave Walker, a sand sculpture expert, Francis and Scott are able to build a scale replica of their massive shark.

Steve goes diving off Benau island to an underwater cave where it is rumored that Dakuwaga lives.  Back in the lab, Scott, Francis and Matt size the shark on the computer.  Using the data Steve collects in his dive to Dakuwaga's cave, Matt is able to finish the project so the team can watch the video of their creation.

I greatly enjoyed this episode.  I've had a fascination with megalodon's for quite some time and I found all the shark research the team did in this episode extremely interesting.  It was fascinating seeing all the shark jaws and teeth at the Florida Museum of Natural History and even more fascinating to see the sharks in their natural habitats during the dives.  Sharks are something that I find incredibly interesting but, at the same time, incredibly frightening.  This episode blended everything together to create a creature that, if it truly existed would be both intriguing and horrifying.

Beast Legends airs every Thursday night at 10 P.M. (9 p.m. Central) on the SyFy Channel.  Episode Four, Winged Lion airs on September 30, 2010.

For More Information:
Official Web Site:
Official SyFy Site:
TV Rage:
Francis Manapul's Official Website:

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