Now I don't know if it this type of shark that is in this ominously named family, or if all sharks are, but you've got to admit it's a pretty pejorative classification. Unless it isn't. When I think 'squalid', I think miserable, poverty stricken, in close oppressive quarters, unclean, but I don't think sharks really live this kind of life.
So what is 'squalid'? Does it really just mean dark, or murky? We will now descend to the depths and attempt to find out...
...'Squalid's contemporary meaning is indeed "dirty and wretched" and implies 'from poverty or lack of care'. No huge surprise there, then. But I believe the link to the dogfish is the result of an earlier, more fundamental connection. Because in addition, 'squalid' also means 'rough'. Although according to the Online Etymological Dictionary the earliest origin is unknown, the basic idea is that something is 'coated with filth', or in other words, rough with it. Similarly, the family Squalidae, which includes 'dogfish, sleeper sharks and relatives' are characterized by spiny dorsal fins. I think this is probably the basis of their 'roughness'.
(I'm editing this to add that it is probably not the spiny dorsal fin, so much as the sandpapery texture of the dogfish skin in general that leads to the characterization of roughness. Dogfish 'denticles' may be viewed here.)
Okay, folks. I wanted to put in a dogfish video, and so came upon this one. It is definitely not for vegans, maybe even not for me, so be forewarned.
In fact, I think I'd better give you the title of the video: "Dogfish refuse to be cooked and eaten". Just so you can see where this is going...
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