Friday Sprog Blogging: swordfish.

The younger Free-Ride offspring's third grade class is involved in some independent research about animals.

Each student chose an animal (with no duplicates, as far as I can tell) and set off to find a nonfiction book about that animal to gather information for a written report and an oral report.

The students also need to make a "stuffed animal" version of their chosen animal. Here's the younger Free-Ride offspring's:


The younger Free-Ride offspring, being a very independent-minded child, executed this stuffed swordfish with no help whatsoever. Which, you know, would be great ... except that the written instructions that came home with the project (upon which I am only laying my eyes right now) specify that the drawing of the animal the student uses to make the "stuffed animal" should be in the ballpark of 18" x 24". The one pictured here is maybe 11" long.

We've got a Stonehenge situation here.

Anyway, in contrast to some infamous elementary school project of yore ("Write a five page report on Peru -- everything about Peru."), this assignment came with a pretty well focused set of questions for the students to try to answer from their reading on their chosen animal: Describe the physical features of the animal, its habitat and how it is adapted to that habitat, its diet, etc.

But when the younger Free-Ride offspring got to the the question of whether swordfish have enemies, and if so, who those enemies might be, the book (Swordfish by Deborah Coldiron) seemed to be silent.

Younger offspring: The book says that swordfish are predators that eat other fish, but it doesn't say anything about other animals that are predators on swordfish.

Dr. Free-Ride: Well, maybe we need to think about this a little. I think I remember a photograph of swordfish near the end of the book that didn't look much like a fish.

Younger offspring: Oh yeah, this one?


Dr. Free-Ride: Yep. So, does that suggest an enemy for swordfish?

Younger offspring: Well, I think it means that humans used to be predators on swordfish.

Dr. Free-Ride: Used to be?

Younger offspring: Well, it says that eating swordfish can be dangerous to your health, so I think humans don't do it anymore.

Elder offspring: You really think humans only eat things that are healthy for them?

I'm not transcribing the rest of that conversation.

More like this

It is well known that the mightiest enemy of the swordfish is the blue-eyed dinglehopperfish. David Bowie is also a significant threat.
Also, swordfish are caught by trolling.

So, there's an evil genius opportunity right there.

"Give me 15 gazillion dollars or I will target the entire Atlantic Ocean with monitors showing threads on Slashdot and Pharyngula. You'll never see another swordfish again. MUWAHAHAHA!"

Well, lessee now. Swords & sorcery. How about a sorcererfish? A joust with a sawfish? Mebbe a big arthrodire like the Devonian Dunkleosteus, with lots of armor and a powerful mouth to catch the sword?

is a predator an enemy?