Amazing shark facts: 9 questions you never thought to ask
Sharks are some of the most amazing sea-dwelling creatures to have existed, with an unfortunate bad reputation from being portrayed as aggressive, bloodthirsty animals in movies such as the iconic Jaws. With over 400 species of shark, there are a lot of interesting facts that most people don’t know about them! So, here are 9 amazing facts about sharks.
What’s a shark’s skeleton made of?
So we all know that skeletons are made from bone, right? Nope, not a shark’s skeleton. Shark skeletons are actually made up of cartilage, that flexible stuff in your ear! This allows the sharks smoother movement and flexibility, as well as being less prone to injury (you can break your leg but you can’t break your ear).
How do you know how old a shark is?
Probably the weirdest of our weird facts is that you can tell the age of a shark the same way you would tree, by counting its rings. Obviously, sharks aren’t made of bark like trees are, but their cartilage skeletons grow a layer each year, allowing scientists to tell how old the shark is by the rings on its vertebrae.
Can sharks sense vibrations in the water?
They certainly can! Sharks can actually sense vibrations in the water thanks to something called the “lateral line”. This lateral line is a visible line of pores containing microscopic hairs that can pick up on the tiniest movement in the water, allowing the shark to sense movement from an incredible distance and locate and chase prey more effectively.
What other senses do sharks have?
Aside from the same ones we do and their ability to sense vibrations, sharks can also pick up on the electrical impulses that are given off whenever something moves. Thanks to a sensory organ called the ampullae of Lorenzini, sharks can actually sense the electricity produced from motion in the water from an incredible distance, making them more effective predators.
Do sharks lay eggs?
As we all know, most fish lay eggs, and some species of sharks do too. These shark eggs are called mermaid purses, but that’s not the interesting fact! What’s interesting is that despite being fish, some sharks (including the Great White Shark) actually give birth the same way us humans do, also known as a “live birth”, giving birth to a litter of 2-6 “pups”.
How many teeth does a shark have?
Unlike us mere humans, sharks have almost a limitless supply of teeth thanks to the several rows of developing teeth that are constantly being produced. Sharks can actually go through up to 30,000 teeth in their lifetime, with each lost tooth being replaced by a new one! They’re not all razor sharp like the great white shark though, some species, such as the whale shark, have long, serrated teeth for filtering rather than tearing.
How likely is it to get attacked by a shark?
Dun dun…dun dun…dun dun…it’s a shark! Don’t worry though, sharks are amazing prehistoric creatures that get quite a bad reputation despite their docile nature. They’re not necessarily a friendly bunch and do generally prefer to be left alone, but the majority of species aren’t really interested in humans and, like most animals, will only attack if they feel like they’re in danger.
How quickly can sharks heal?
We usually think of sharks as the ones dishing out the damage, but they do get injured from time to time. However, their fast healing abilities mean we don’t often see an injured shark as they’re not injured for long. They can heal from serious injuries in only a couple of months! This fantastic healing ability has been noted by scientists to possibly help us improve our own healing abilities and even help find cures for diseases and cancers.
How long have sharks been around?
Thanks to some fossils found from the Silurian period, we know that sharks have been in our oceans for at least 420 million years! Sharks are one of the oldest predators still around and are actually older than dinosaurs, who became extinct around 250 million years ago. Surviving five extinction-level events and having over 400 million years to evolve into the perfect predators they are today, it’s no wonder there are so many interesting facts about them.