Meet Reef Nelson, the Marine Biologist Behind <i>Jaws</i>

The 1975 movie Jaws was based on the 1974 bestselling novel by Peter Benchley, but to make the film, Steven Spielberg had to condense, adapt, and flesh out the visuals. For research, he went to the Shark Lab at Cal State, founded by marine biologist Dr. Donald “Reef” Nelson. Spielberg was impressed by Nelson’s knowledge -and his office, which served as the inspiration for that of the movie’s marine biologist character Matt Hooper, played by Richard Dreyfuss. Nelson was hired as a consultant on both Jaws and Jaws II.

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Dr. Nelson became an expert on sharks from swimming with them for years before Jaws became a blockbuster hit. But he learned so much more about sharks afterward that he regretted the way the movie portrayed the great white shark, which he considered a disservice to the fish and to sharks in general. Read about the life and research of Reef Nelson at Mental Floss.

(Image credit: Bruce)

Source: neatorama

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