Tuesday, 21 October 2014

If Sharks Feel Pain, Why Are They Not Better Protected? (Op-Ed)

Ila France Porcher | October 17, 2014 07:37pm ET

Editor's Note: This Op-Ed has been edited to clarify the current state of the scientific debate regarding pain sensitivity in fish and to remove references to a paper in Fisheries by researchers at the University of Miami, as the paper's claims did not directly match the claims in the original Op-Ed text.

Ila France Porcher is a self-taught, published ethologist and the author of "The Shark Sessions." A wildlife artist who recorded the behavior of animals she painted, Porcher was intrigued by sharks in Tahiti and launched an intensive study to systematically observe them following the precepts of cognitive ethology. Credited with the discovery of a way to study sharks without killing them, Porcher has been called "the Jane Goodall of sharks" for her documentation of their intelligence in the wild. She contributed this article to Live Science's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights

Researchers at Yale Law School made headlines recently, when they suggested that people often fail to question their political beliefs in the face of scientific discoveries that contradict them. The study showed how people reason selectively, and interpret data in such a way that it conforms with their political vantage point. 

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