400 Million Years
Information about sharks would not be available had these magnificent creatures not adapted to their surroundings, and survived several extinction events. Dinosaurs lived around 245 million years ago, but these numbers just do not do sharks justice. Shark lovers have been given the opportunity to view these majestic creatures in their natural habitat. Unlike dinosaurs, sharks have been able to avoid extinction, and have become kings within the ocean.
If you take a look at some of the more recent extinction lists, many species have become extinct, and many of those species derived from a much younger time period. Some of those extinctions have been the result of mankind, and others simply could not adapt to their surroundings. A few of the notable names on the lists include Tasmanian tigers, the West African black rhinoceros, and Passenger pigeons.
Sharks have not all been safe from the evil grip of extinction. The most prominent name on the list is the Megalodon shark. Why is this species so well known? Perhaps it is the sheer size of the massive fish. Research shows that the Megalodon is has traits comparable to a Great White, but the size difference between the two is incredible. On average a Great White is approximately 15 to 20 feet (4 to 6 m) long. That is a scary sight, especially if you are in the water, but Megalodons are believed to be approximately 40 to 70 feet (12 to 21m) long.
Scientists Study Sharks To Gain Valuable Information
One myth that has been debunked is that sharks do not get cancer. The truth is that some sharks do get cancer, but it only happens in rare occurrences. Therefore, scientists study shark cartilage in hopes of finding a cure for cancer. This may also open up new scientific breakthroughs of mind blowing proportions. The medical field is one area that can benefit tremendously from researching sharks, but mankind should return the favor with conservation efforts.
As humans, we are curious about the unknown. Sharks are one of the most mysterious creatures in the universe. They are powerful, sleek, beautiful, and capable of amazing things, and our curiosity can impact our world, as well as theirs. Social media is a perfect tool to help with shark conservation, which is a way in which you can help these sharks. Keeping information flowing, of a good nature, about sharks is a key element to conservation. Together, we can make sure that this research is conducted by the right people, with the best interest of the shark in mind as well.
Did You Know?
Most people are only aware of a few different species of sharks. This can be due to a number of reasons, but the most likely answer is media/Hollywood. Movies, and other forms of media, have depicted sharks in a negative light for the basis of ratings, and filling the seats in the theater. Great Whites, Hammerheads, and Tiger sharks are some of the species that are household names.
There are over 400 different species of sharks, which can be placed into 8 different groups. However, new research is being done daily, and new species are still being found. Thousands of species have come and gone, while others have adapted and continued to thrive. These spectacular fish have outlasted many others, and depending on human interactions, they could outlast many more.
Some shark species have to continuously keep swimming. The water that passes over their gills provides them with oxygen to breath. Without constant moving water, many species will die. However, some bottom dwelling sharks, such as carpet sharks have adaptations that provide oxygen in other ways. A method known as buccal pumping was present within ancestors to modern sharks. Basically, water is pulled into the mouth and passes over the gums. This allows the sharks to sit still, rather than having to swim all of the time. This method is still present in some species today, such as nurse sharks, angel sharks, and the above mentioned carpet shark.
As sharks evolved, buccal pumping became a secondary method of pumping. It required less energy to allow the water to pass over the gills during movement. Depending on the species of shark, the chances are that they have an adaptation to breath without constant moving. Of the more than 400 species, approximately two dozen have to keep constant movement to stay alive, including great white sharks.
Hammerhead sharks have long, flat looking heads, which resembles a hammer, hence the name Hammerhead. Now this crazy shark’s head is not only cool to look at, but it serves a purpose as well. These sharks feed on prey, which is located on the ocean bottom, such as rays and shrimp. The head can be used as a tool for pinning prey down. It is also used as a sort of “metal detector”, so to speak. Many of the food sources consumed by Hammerheads hide beneath the sandy bottom. They can scan the bottom for edible prey easily.
There are 9 different species of Hammerhead sharks. The Great Hammerhead shark is by far the largest of the 9. They can grow up to 20 ft (6 m) in length, and up to a 600 lbs (179 kg). Most of the other species only grow to around 13 ft (4 m). Of the 9 different species, only 3 have ever been recorded as attacking humans. Those three are the Great, Scalloped, and Smooth Hammerheads. Most of the time, divers in the vicinity of Hammerheads have no worries, but before and attack is provoked, the fish will give warnings, such as wild contortions.