When you think about sharks, you probably picture a mouth full of razor-sharp teeth tearing away at your body limb by limb. Thanks to amazingly awful shark horror movies, people generally share a deep fear of the creatures. While there have been various incidents of real-life shark attacks throughout history, sharks are not the natural man-eaters people imagine them to be. In fact, scientists agree that you're more likely to be killed by a coconut than by a shark.
Sharks are actually astounding creatures that, contrary to popular belief, don’t go around attacking every person in sight or capsizing boats out of revenge. They don't get enough credit for the positive roles they play in the oceans. For example, without sharks, the oceans would be riddled with dead aquatic life or overpopulated with fast-breeding schools of fish. This is because sharks will often feast on carcasses and consume exploding sea life populations, which helps to keep the oceans clean, healthy, and balanced.
So, to all the shark haters out there: don't hate, appreciate! Discover some fascinating shark facts and learn why sharks really are the bad*sses of the sea.
Most species require both a male and a female to create life, but sharks are not like most species. Thanks to a phenomenon known as parthenogenesis, female sharks can breed once and store the collected sperm until a later date for self-reproduction. Female sharks do this for protection during the mating season because males are especially ferocious when it comes to mating, as they tend to bite and injure females while participating in courtship rituals.
Sharks have special sensory organs known as ampullae of Lorenzini, which are deep pores found around their snouts. The ampullae are sensitive electroreceptors that help with hunting. A shark uses this electroreception sensory system to detect electrical activity that fluctuates from its prey, such as a creature’s beating heart.
Sharks have been around for over 419 million years and have adapted to increase their survival rates. For example, the great white is recorded as the largest predatory fish in the ocean, averaging 15 to 20 feet long. While great whites may sound intimidating in stature, there was an even larger predatory shark that lived millions of years ago called the megalodon. Megalodons resembled the great white in every aspect, save for its immense size. In length alone, the megalodon was said to have grown up to 59 feet!
Sharks have extremely strong vision. In fact, a shark can see ten times better than a human, as far as over 100 feet away. Sharks have panoramic viewing capabilities and usually have three minor blind spots that limit their visual perception. Most are blind to whatever is directly in front of their nose, so sharks swing their heads back and forth as they swim in an effort to eliminate that blind spot.
Sharks can also effectively change their field of vision from stereoscopic (three dimensional viewing) to monocular (one eye viewing), which sacrifices perception for quality of vision.