MIAMI _ If we tasted like dinner to the average shark, every square inch of water off Florida's Gulf and Atlantic coasts would be a killing zone, and dozens of us would die every year. That's the official word from Florida's icthyologists.
In fact, every time we swim, we're probably within a few dozen yards of a shark.
"Just get aboard one of those planes that tows the suntan lotion signs over Haulover Beach any time and you'll see lots of them, right where people are swimming," said Robert Hueter, director of the Center for Shark Research at the Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Fla.
But to our great fortune, an ocean full of people is, to a shark, like a colony of ants to a human, Hueter said: "We could eat the ants if we wanted. But they're not what we'd choose."
"By and large, shark attacks are simple cases of mistaken identity, in which the shark misinterprets the actions of humans as that of prey," said George H. Burgess, director of the International Shark Attack File at the Florida Museum of Natural History.
It might seem like cold comfort …