How many ocean dwelling fish create more fear and nightmares than Sharks? The Jaws Movies and the funny horror episodes of annual “Shark Week” help to make us fearful.
But today, let’s learn some fact based on science about these large predators.
Sharks are the only fish that can breathe air. They have gills on their sides, which means they get oxygen from water instead of breathing it in like we do. Sharks also use a special organ called an ampulla to filter out food particles from the water. This is why you see them swimming with their mouths open.
The shark’s mouth contains hundreds of tiny teeth arranged into rows. These teeth help the animal tear through its prey. A shark has no eyelids or ears; however, some species have small sensory organs near their eyes for detecting light changes. Some sharks’ skin is covered by bony plates called dermal denticles. Each plate measures up to 1 inch long and helps protect the shark against injury when he bites down hard on his victim.
Sharks have been around since before dinosaurs roamed Earth. Fossilized remains of these ancient creatures were found all over the world. Scientists believe that sharks evolved more than 400 million years ago. Their fossils date back even further though. In fact, scientists think sharks may be as old as 500 million years! That makes them one of the oldest animals still alive today.
Let’s learn more…
Facts about Sharks
1. There are over 500 Specifies of Shark
143 of these 500 specifies are under threat, listed by IUCN from vulnerable to critically endangered.
2. Humans are the Biggest Threat to Sharks
Sharks are generally thought by marine biologists not to have natural predators. It is true that on occasion killer whales, crocodiles, and other sharks will sometimes eat sharks but that is rare.
According to shark biologist Samuel Gruber: “Humans are by far the greatest enemy of sharks.”
3. Teeth are the only bones that Sharks have
It is estimated that Sharks have been on this planet for hundreds of millions of years, although there is little fossil record history of that.
Why? Because their are a species, often referred to as an elasmobranches , that have cartilage instead of bones.
This means that most shark carcasses decompose before a fossil has time to form. Other elasmobranches include rays, skates, and sawfish. The only bones you’ll find in a shark’s body are its teeth, which it may have up to 300 of!
4. Sharks can go through up to 50,000 teeth in their lifetime
Human teeth have roots so they don’t often fall out.
By contrast, shark teeth do not have roots, so they are more likely to fall out!
And given that some species can have as many as 300 teeth in their mouth at any one time, a single shark could be missing many teeth. Some biologists have said that sharks might even have a tooth only for a week before losing it.
5. And they can grow them back pretty much overnight
Sharks are growing new teeth all the time. It has been estimated that many sharks are able to replace a lost tooth in a matter of days or months.
As long as a shark stays healthy, it will continue to be able to grow unlimited new teeth for the rest of its life.
6. Sharks move both their top and bottom jaws
Humans can only move their Lower Jaws around since our upper jaw is fixed in place.
By contrast, sharks can freely move both their upper and lower jaws. This ability allows them to detach their jaw when attacking a prey so they can get a better grip and chew it up!
7. There are hundreds of sharks species.
There are nearly 500 species of shark, including angel, bullhead, carpet, dogfish sharks, weasel, mackerel, crocodile, zebra, and even cat sharks.
Overall sharks range in size from a few inches to 40 feet long.
And they live in a wide range of habitats too!
8. The longest fish in the world is a type of shark
The whale shark can reach a length of up to 40 feet and it holds the title of “largest fish in the sea.”
They mainly consume plankton and do thy do it by scooping up a ton of ocean water and then scoop out the tiny plants and animals. This is referred to as “filter feeding” by marine biologists. The good news is that whale sharks are unlikely to attack humans.
Related: Scary Piranha Facts
9. Weirdly enough Sharks can also be as small as a goldfish!
The dwarf lantern shark is not what most people think of when they think of a huge predatory shark. Dwarf lantern sharks are found near the northern coast of South America, and they grow to just six inches in length.
It has some interesting evolutionary adaptations too – its organs emit light along its belly. In the sunny oceans in which it is found there are rays of sunlight and this helps it blend into the shallower waters it is found in.
10. Sharks Prefer Men?
According to National Geographic, 93% of all documented shark attacks since 1580 have been on men!
Biologists suspect this is because the most common victims are surfers, swimmers, and fishermen, who are more often male than female.
Related: Facts about the Movie Jaws
Related: Scary facts about Stingrays
Why Sharks Are Covered In Teeth
Sharks wouldn’t be known for their fierce teeth today if it weren’t for their ancient scales. Learn more about this fascinating topic!
Also learn about how fish have sex – it’s quite fascinating!
QUIZ – How well do you really know sharks? Can You Score Higher than 60%
Which ocean do sharks live in?
Do Sharks Have Bones?
How Many Species of Sharks are there?
What Shark is Most Poisonous?
What are shark eggs called?
What does shark skin feel like?
What's the name of the smallest breed of shark that is only 6 inches long?
What is the fastest type of shark?
How many teeth does a a typical shark grow - and lose - during their life?
I’m Natalie Garcia and I started this website to share my love of trivia, facts and fun knowledge tidbits. We cover things like celebrity gossip, historical facts, tv shows, world leaders and just odd and random fun things. I started this site to have some fun with my hobby and share some useful information with you, our community. Please feel to send me your suggestions and feedback through the contact form. And if you have suggestions for things to write about, please shoot me a message!