CHICAGO (CBS) — The Field Museum is now examining a 40-pound shark fin that was seized from a Chinatown restaurant last year – as scientists try to determine what species of shark was in the possession – illegally – of restaurant owners.
It was last August when Illinois Conservation Police Officer Jed Whitchurch seized the shark fin from the restaurant in Chinatown.
“When I was in there talking to the owner-manager of the store, this was in plain view, on display inside the establishment.”
Officer Whitchurch took the rather large fin to the Field Museum, and Dr. Kevin Feldheim.
“This fin, it’s a dried out fin. It’s about three feet tall. It very obviously has been cut off of a shark because you can see dried up blood where the fin margin would’ve met the body.”
And now he’ll try to extract some DNA.
“So I think the best place to get DNA will be from right in here. You can see where that’s probably some dried up blood.”
Dr. Feldheim says it’ll take about a week to find out what species of shark it’s from.
His best guess: either a whale shark, the largest fish in the sea – or a basking shark, the second largest.
Both rare, he says – and both illegal to catch and illegal to sell in Illinois.