Where are autopsies on sharks performed?

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belarafon | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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An animal autopsy is often called a Necropsy to differentiate it from human autopsies. Sharks are often autopsied to examine their cause of death and to see what is in their stomachs. Knowing what killed a shark -- as well as other fish -- is vital to the health of the oceans, since a disease that kills water life is much harder to contain. Knowing what the shark has been eating is also important since it gives both scientific data, as well as information about possible danger to wildlife and to humans. Sharks are much larger than most domestic pets, and so a shark autopsy would likely not be performed at any standard vet. Most shark autopsies are performed either at a marine life veterinary clinic, or at a scientific facility that studies marine life. This allows better data collection, since marine animal biology differs from land animal biology in many ways. Sometimes, shark autopsies are performed in universities or college campuses to demonstrate marine biology to students.

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