Shark Facts That Are Crucial to Know

sharkThe public is fearful of the 465 species of shark living in the ocean today, yet their depletion and endangerment calls for a better understanding of the truth behind the apex predators. Here are some facts and information about sharks that are crucial to know.

Based on evidence from shark’s skeletal and muscular systems, the marine species dates back 420 million years, which means they are older than dinosaurs. Shark bones are weaker than human bones. In fact, they are weaker than most terrestrial vertebrates. Their skeletons are made of cartilage. Although that makes them more fragile to impact, it grants them the speed and flexibility to be the most effective predators in the ocean. Unlike humans, shark teeth will fall out and be replaced throughout their entire life time. A single shark can grow up to 30,000 teeth in one lifetime, and their lower and upper jaws are more powerful than any other creature’s in the world.

Not all species of shark are man-eaters. The extremely rare megamouth shark (Megachasma pelagios) is a lot less threatening than its name suggests – a lot less threatening to fish and humans. The beast is a filter feeder, similar to the humpback whale, siphoning plankton from the water. Fewer than 100 cases of eyewitness accounts of the beast have been recorded.

Another shark fact that is crucial to know is that of the more than 460 species, there are many species that are small and without large teeth. The dogwater fish, that is classified as a shark, grows no longer than nine inches. The basking shark has such tiny teeth, they are not even useful for feeding. However, the sharks that do have large teeth have exponentially better dental health than humans. Their teeth are covered in fluoride, effectively making it impossible for them to get a cavity.

A crucial fact about the importance of sharks in ecosystems is illustrated by the World Wildlife Association, who say that their role at the top of the food chain is imperative at keeping other marine animal populations in check. Sharks also feed on the sick and weak, which helps prey populations stay healthy.

Psychology and work-efficiency methods have been inspired by knowing the biology of sharks, specifically the crucial fact that they must always be in motion in order to breathe. Shark gills will only operate if the shark is in motion. But just like all living organisms, sharks have to sleep. Therefore, a shark sections off its brain and shutdown those sections to rest. It is possible and has happened that an underwater explorer has happened upon a sleeping shark that is moving. A growing method of balancing career and personal life has been inspired by this phenomenon. The practice of sectioning off days of the week, or hours in a day, and only using those sections to perform a task that challenges one method of brain function. For example, Tuesday morning can be devoted to purely creative endeavors, and the afternoon can be devoted to practical and functional tasks.

By Andres Loubriel

Defenders of Wildlife


5 Responses to "Shark Facts That Are Crucial to Know"

  1. amyscatisblack   May 18, 2014 at 5:47 am

    Sharon, if you look up just dogfish, i think that’s what they meant 🙂

  2. Sieg   May 13, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    A nice article that contains some great facts that generally support a better understanding sharks, however the statement that “Not all species of shark are man-eaters” implies that some species do in fact consider man as a food source. As Chad & Diana have already pointed out, these types of comments are generally harmful to our shrinking shark populations, and they serve to create a negative public impression of sharks. The words we use are important because not all who hear them are able to put them into perspective.

  3. Sharon   May 13, 2014 at 11:34 am

    I haven’t heard of, nor can I find information about, a dogwater fish. Did the author mean something else? A cigar shark perhaps? They get to be 6-12 inches long…

  4. Diana the Warrior   May 12, 2014 at 9:00 am

    I totally agree with Chad’s comment. No shark species seek out humans for prey, whenever humans get bitten it’s a case of mistaken identity, and the fact that only very few human shark bite victims ever got actually eaten proves that the sharks don’t find humans very tasty. NONE are man-eaters.

  5. Chad Jacobsen   May 12, 2014 at 8:04 am

    Thank you for the article. I do however wish in future articles you could avoid using the term “man eaters” as this does nothing but help perpetuate an unreasonable fear of shark to those that are uneducated about the stats on shark attacks vs. people. You have a better chance of getting killed by a coconut or lightning than a shark.

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