How the US Navy tried to protect against shark attacks in WWII -- and why that was the last thing they should have been worried about

World War II was the first time humans fought over warm, tropical waters where sharks reside. Many feared that if their ship sank or their plain went down, they would be at the mercy of the sharks.

To help ease the fear, the US Navy funded research to develop a shark repellent. Ultimately, sharks should have been the least of their fears since the Navy had zero reports of death by shark attack. One man, Stewart Springer, commented on the irony of it all:

“It was ok to give one’s life for one’s country, but to get eaten for it was another matter.” 

We spoke with Mary Roach about this incredible story, and learned whether the shark repellent that the Navy came up with worked, or not. You can read more fascinating stories about humans at war in Roach’s new book “Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War“.

 Produced by Delano Samuels and Jessica Orwig

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