Meet Ai Hasegawa, a Japanese artist, animator and all-around eccentric living in London who believes she has the answer to several of the world’s pressing problems, and it hinges on her being able to give birth to a shark. No, this isn’t a concept for Jaws 5 (“This time, it’s prenatal.”); it’s Hasegawa’s master plan to solve a number of humanity’s (or at least, her own) issues.
First, it addresses the issue of women’s so-called “biological clocks,” their innate desire to give birth, even if they don’t really want children. “We are genetically predisposed to raise children as a way of passing on our genes to the next generation,” she explains, “but we live in an age where the struggle to raise a child in decent conditions is becoming harder with gross over-population and difficult environmental conditions.” Thus, her plan also addresses the issue of over-population by allowing for births that don’t add to the already crowded human head count on Earth.
But what to do with the newly born shark? Well, eat it, of course. As she states, “We must also eat, and we are equally facing growing food shortages as a result of over-fishing, land use and a growing population.” Voila, world hunger is solved. But wait, there’s more! Her offspring species of choice is the spiny dogfish (AKA mud shark), because it is endangered. With her plan in effect, people will no longer need to hunt or fish endangered species into extinction; they can just grow them…in their bellies. Because who wouldn’t want to kill and eat something they’ve given birth to?
So, is Hasegaw’s idea even physically possible? She certainly seems to think it will be “in the near future”; she’s even consulted with a gynecologist on ways to possibly make the human uterus bigger. She has a point; interspecies embryo transplants are not uncommon nowadays. However, the two species involved are typically much more closely related than humans and sharks; say, two types of camels or wild oxen and domestic cows. So, it may not be impossible, but how many legitimate medical professionals would you really be able to find to carry out such an experiment?
It’s possible Hasegawa’s idea is satirical in nature — something like Jonathan Swift’s famed 1729 essay “A Modest Proposal,” in which he suggests the poor help their cause by selling their children as food for the rich — especially looking at projects on her website like the one proposing combining the DNA of five people to make one baby, which includes plans for a five-armed raincoat with artificial hands so all parents can hold onto the child at once. For the sake of seafood eaters everywhere — her plan also targets salmon, tuna and dolphins — I hope it is indeed one big joke.
(Sources: AiHasegawa.info, Vice, US National Library of Medicine, Unbound Medicine)