With a rash of shark incidences occurring this summer, here are some shark facts you may not know about them
With an upswing in the number of recent shark spotting’s, a few attacks, even a fatality like the lady who was killed by a great white in Maine, here are some interesting facts about sharks you may not know, from the folks at The Outdoor Hub.
*Sharks have been around a very long time based on fossil scales found in Australia and the United States. Scientists hypothesize sharks first appeared in the ocean around 455 million years ago.
*Scientists age sharks by counting the rings on their vertebrae which contain concentric pairs of opaque and translucent bands. Band pairs are counted like rings on a tree and then scientists assign an age to the sharks based on the count. Thus, they say, if the vertebrae has 10 band pairs, it’s assumed to be 10 years old. Recent studies, however, have shown that this assumption is not always correct. Researchers must study each species and size class to determine how often the band pairs are deposited because the deposition rate may change over time. Determining the actual rate that the bands are deposited is called “validation.”
*Blue sharks are really blue as they display a brilliant blue color on the upper portion of its body and is normally snowy white beneath. The mako and porbeagle sharks also exhibit a blue coloration, but it’s not nearly as brilliant as that of a blue shark. In life, most sharks are brown, olive and grayish.
*As for whale shark’s, their spot pattern is unique as a fingerprint. They are the largest fish in the ocean and weigh as much as 40 tons by some estimates. Basking sharks are the world’s second largest fish growing as long as 32 feet and weighting more than five tons.
*Some shark species have a spiracle that allows them to pull water into their respiratory system while at rest. Most sharks, as you know, have to keep swimming to pump water over their gills. A shark’s spiracle is located just behind the eyes that supplies oxygen directly to the shark’s eyes and brain. Bottom dwelling sharks, like angel and nurse sharks, use this extra respiratory organ to breathe while at rest on the seafloor. It’s also used for respiration when the shark’s mouth is used for eating.
* You may know if watching “Shark Week” that not all sharks have the same teeth? Mako sharks have very pointed teeth, while white sharks have triangular, serrated teeth. Each have a unique, tell-tale mark on their prey. A sandbar shark will have around 35,000 teeth over the course of its lifetime.
*Different shark species reproduce in different ways as they exhibit a great diversity in their reproductive modes. There are oviparous (egg laying) species and viviparous (live bearing) species. Oviparous species lay eggs that develop and hatch outside the mother’s body with no parental care after the eggs are laid.
There you have it. Some fun facts of sharks that are to be respected, and for many, feared by anyone enjoying ocean water.
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Nick Hromiak has been an outdoors and automotive writer for over 30 years. He's been published in numerous national and state-wide outdoor magazines and newspapers.