If anything in the ocean is more terrifying than sharks, it’s ghost sharks. Jaws was scary enough, but imagine if he couldn’t be killed, like a Jason Voorhees of apex sea predators? That’s what Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales created when they put decomposing great white and hammerhead sharks into their film. Why are there zombie sharks? Who knows. Maybe they ate some cursed golden coins. It doesn’t matter. What matters is they exist, and what can men do against such reckless hate?
But, wait a minute: Why do these sharks have elongated rib cages and the teeth of Bib Fortuna? That’s not how shark anatomy works!
On the one hand, these sharks exist within the framework of a high fantasy epic that has featured zombie pirates, barnacle men, an octopus with a human body, and a kraken. Anatomical correctness kind of goes out the window when you’re playing Frankenstein with sea creatures merging with men. But, on the other hand, sharks exist in real life. The effects artists must have used diagrams or studied real life sharks in order to design and animate these undead abominations. So why then do the sharks have so many ribs when even a cursory Google search proves these predators are at least 85% cartilage and hate?
Sharks don’t even have bones, and their “skin” is made of the same stuff as the inside of your teeth. But undead sharks don’t play by the same decomposition rules as the rest of us (obviously) so fine, their cartilage is holding together well enough. But turning into a zombie shouldn’t change the layout of your ribs. Both great white and hammerheads have ribs that end near or at their pectoral (front) fin. After that, it’s all muscle. And that muscle is not even connected to their skeleton because sharks are terrifying aliens that want nothing more than to eat your face. Nor do hammerheads have teeth like giant daggers but that can maybe be chalked up to decomposition of their gums. The same kind of decay that makes humans look like vampires a few days after death.
But hey! There’s still time. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales doesn’t arrive in theaters until May 26th. That’s two months for the effects team to perfect their shark anatomy. Or not. I’m a writer, not a biology cop.