8 Shark Facts That Will Surprise You | Animals Facts | ScienceMonk

Sharks, the predaceous fishes feared by most, loved by many are one of the mysterious and exclusively marine animals roaming around in almost every ocean on earth. There are more than 250 species of sharks, and they can range in size from 2-foot (60 cm) pygmy shark to the 50-foot giant whale sharks! Sharks are abundant in warm waters of the sea.

Shark Facts

They are found in every major saltwater body. A small number of Sharks are the most diverse animal genera living on Earth. Most of the sharks are ferocious predators, but whale shark and basking sharks are harmless plankton eaters. For the human diet, shark meat is a source of nutrition, and thus sharks are hunted by many Asian counties.

Amazing Shark Facts

  1. Skeletons are made of Cartilage:-Sharks are massive fishes possessing neither lungs nor swim bladders. Their skeletons are made of cartilage rather than bones; this partially solves their weight problem and helps them to be buoyant. They have oily livers that make them balanced in deeper water. Sharks belong to a particular category of fish species called ‘elasmobranch’ which means a fish made of cartilaginous tissues. As the sharks grow in age, they deposit calcium salts in their cartilage to make them strong. The dangerous jaws of a shark appear to be solid like bone. Calcium salts are responsible for sharks to fossilize even though they do not have bones.
  2. Shark’s Eyesight: Sharks possess very keen senses which enable them to detect any minor changes of electric current, vibrations, and chemical alterations in the water. Sharks can see even in dark and gloomy water. Shark eyes have a layer of mirrored crystals, tapetum lucidium located behind the retina that provides an increase in sensitivity but reducing acuity as it defocuses light. It enables sharks to have a fantastic night vision as compared to other fishes.
  3. Sharks have been living on earth’s oceans for around 450 million years. The oldest shark species was the goblin shark that has been approximately 120 million years. The youngest species are the hammerheads that evolved nearly 20 million years ago. Surprisingly! Scientists measure the age of a shark by counting the rings on its vertebrae which contains concentric pairs of opaque and translucent bands. If the vertebrae have ten band pairs, it is assumed to be ten years old.
  4. Sharks use their electroreceptor organs for navigation in the oceans and finding prey. They have small black spots near the nose, mouth, and eyes. These spots are special electroreceptor organs, ampullae of Lorenzini that allows sharks to detect even the minute electrical potentials generated by muscle contractions of prey, and the changes in earth’s electromagnetic field.
  5. Sharks are “silent killers” in the deep oceans. They do not have vocal cords, so they can’t make sounds. Even their scales are modified to allow them to slip through the water in ghost-like silence. Sharks communicate through body language. Zig-zag swimming, head shaking, hunched backs are some common communication gestures adopted by them.
  6. Sharks can only swim forward unlike other fishes. It is because the fins of sharks are stiff and can’t be controlled by the muscles. So they can’t swim backward or stop suddenly. Even if they need to move backward, they use gravity to sink back not swimming backward. A species of sharks known as bamboo sharks, do not swim but uses their fins to roam across the ocean floor.
  7. Among all the sharks accused in unprovoked attacks on humans, the most feared species is the great white sharks. On average, great white sharks can eat 11 tons of food annually. They can jump out of the water up to 10 feet to catch their prey.
  8. The real threat to sharks is human beings. Humans kill 100 million sharks per year as per reports for commercial purposes and diet needs. Sharks are the apex predators, meaning they lie on top of the food chain. Declination of the shark population affects the entire ecosystem. The analysis of declination States that white sharks have declined 92 %, tiger sharks faced 72% declination, and whaler sharks faced 84% decline in their population due to commercial fishing and hunting.

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