22 Things You Didn't Know About Sharks
There is so much more to sharks than the popular image of them as cold-blooded, man-eating killing machines. Sure they're some of the most evolved and capable hunters in the animal kingdom, but there are plenty of shark facts that can better our understanding of these creatures and have you captivated by more than just their impressive teeth.Sharks have been known to curiously investigate humans and other objects in their environment that are strange to them. So indulge your curiosity for facts about sharks. Get to know their evolutionary history and their biology. Learn what makes them so impressive with the shark information collected in the list below!
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Megalodons Are Amazing!Photo: Serge Illaryonov / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 3.0The picture is a to scale restoration, but many of the teeth in the sculpture were real fossilized teeth. The giant C. Megalodon sharks are now extinct but scientists believe that they could grow as long as 60 feet! "Megalodon" actually means "big tooth" in Ancient Greek.
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Orcas Eat Great White SharksPhoto: skeeze / Pixabay / Public DomainIf you ever saw Jaws, you could be forgiven for thinking that those cold blooded eating machines were at the top of the food chain. But in fact there is a species that feeds on them: killer whales, or orcas. Orcas are the true apex predators of their ecosystems, which means that no other animals prey on them.
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Hammerheads Have a 360 Degree View of the World Around ThemPhoto: suneko / flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0One of the most distinctive looking types of sharks, it is believed that the shape of the shark's head and positioning of its eyes is an evolutionary adaptation to give it superior views of its surroundings. Hammerheads have a virtually 360 degree view at all times, letting them efficiently sweep for prey.
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Sharks Can Sense You from Your Body's ElectricityPhoto: Albert kok / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.5
Sort of. Sharks have an array of electroreceptors in the pores around their mouths. These receptors can detect tiny electromagnetic fields made by things as seemingly inconsequential as muscle contractions or movements in living organisms. In the conductive environment of sea water, sharks have been measured detecting electric fields as weak as 5/1,000,000,000 of a volt per centimeter of receptor tissue.There is no hiding from a shark - this is almost as conductive as the most high-tech man-made materials.
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Some Sharks Are Tiny and AdorablePhoto: outdoorcanada / Pixabay / Public DomainThe smallest known species of sharks is the dwarf lanternshark, found only in the underwater continental slopes of Colombia and Venezuela. These little sharks only grow as long as eight inches. Yes, inches.
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Do They Really Have to Keep Swimming to Survive?Photo: Owlstalk / Pixabay / Public DomainA lot of sharks do, in a manner of speaking. Sharks use gills to breathe and the only way they can extract oxygen from the water is to be continuously on the move so that water is always passing over their gills. Thus, they need to keep moving or they will asphyxiate, though most sharks are able to pump water over their gills while they are at rest.