Science lecture proves sharks are not ‘mindless monsters’


Parker English

Speaker, Skylar Thomas, answers questions after his presentation on sharks.

Parker English, Staff Writer

Many people view sharks as dangerous and irrational beasts. Skylar Thomas is not one of those people.

On Feb. 14, Thomas visited Carlmont to give a presentation on sharks and their surprisingly calm and controlled way of thinking. This event was held at the Carlmont Performing Arts Center, from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

“We try our best to find speakers in various fields. The goal is to hit as many different fields of science and technology as possible,” said Tina Smith, a biology teacher at Carlmont and one of the coordinators of the event.

This particular lecture revolved around sharks and their behavioral patterns.

Thomas has been scuba diving with sharks since 2000 and has always had a passion for filmmaking. Combining the two into a side-project has benefitted him greatly and contributed to his recognition in the field of shark activism.

His multi-award winning documentary, “Great White Lies,” reveals the sad truth of shark mitigation programs all over the world. Many other short films by Thomas have tried to support sharks and give people a reason to not dismiss them as evil.

Thomas’ foundation, White Shark Video, explores the psychological factor behind human impressions of sharks and why people often choose to deem sharks uncontrollable.

Most people have never actually seen a shark in real life, but due to social media’s expression of them, they often come off as deadly creatures.

“The majority of people who have never seen a shark will tell you they are afraid of sharks. Again, that is not based on what they actually know of sharks from experience, but instead, it is based on what they have heard or seen on TV, in the theater, from other people, on the news, etc.,” Thomas said.

What sets Thomas apart from other shark-activists is his use of cinematography.

“I thought it was really interesting and cool how all the video shots were taken,” said Elizabeth Kravtchenko, a sophomore.

Sharks can, in fact, be friendly creatures that have a tremendous amount of self-control.”

— Nic Taylor

On a tiger shark trip earlier this year, Thomas and his crew stumbled upon a school of lemon sharks. To test for shark behavior, they dipped GoPros into the water with bait to see what the sharks would do. Despite the competition, every shark left unscathed.

“Whether you love sharks or you hate them, you’ve got to be impressed by this level of control and willingness not to injure each other in a dangerous situation,” Thomas said.

Thomas’ message that sharks truly are not “mindless monsters” gave many students a new outlook on the animals.

“He made it very clear that sharks can, in fact, be friendly creatures that have a tremendous amount of self-control,” said Nic Taylor, a sophomore.

The lecture ended slightly earlier than the expected 8:30 p.m. time, but was made up for in its incredible insight into the world of sharks. The next science lecture is set to take place on March 7.