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Putting The "Whale" on the Scale
By Joseph Tepper, February 9, 2011 @ 09:00 AM (EST)
Source: BBC: Earth News

A new method for measurement, developed by scientists working in Mozambique, will be able to -for the first time- accurately obtain the measurements for the oceans largest fish- the whale shark.

While whale sharks were thought to only grow to twenty meters, the use of new laser marking for measurement will soon replace traditional methods of tape measuring, scaling from photographs and, educated guessing; and in turn, making measurements far more reliable. 

"Whale sharks can be individually-identified using the distinctive pattern of spots on their flanks,” explains PhD candidate Christoph Rohner. “We project laser spots onto this region, allowing us to obtain both the identity and length of the shark with a single photograph.”

The accuracy of this new technique adds, on average, almost two feet in length when measuring whale sharks. If the camera adds ten pounds on a person, then the laser would add nearly two tons to a single whale shark!

 

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