Misunderstood Monsters

A long time favourite animal of mine is the Shark i would one day love to swim with these magnificent creatures. many would think me mad for this but they are so majestic and mysterious. although there is a veritable trove of information on these awesome creatures there is till further study needed to fully understand these beings. this is what leads to them being so misunderstood, that and the likes of jaws and deep blue sea which depict them as senseless killers when in actual fact they are rather more intelligent that they are given credit for. Since it was shark week a few weeks ago here is an informative guide to sharks.

A Brief History

Would you believe that sharks have existed for millions of years? In fact, they evolved long before dinosaurs! Shark fossils have helped scientists conclude numerous facts about the evolution of sharks. Sharks themselves began to appear about 400 million years ago, during the Devonian period, which is often called “The Age of Fishes”. The prehistoric nature of sharks is just one of many things that makes them utterly fascinating creatures.

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The Great Meaglodon Shark

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The Megalodon shark (Carcharodon Megalodon) was a massive being that would put modern-day Sea predators to shame. If you are currently afraid of the great white shark, then I’m sure you’re happy that you don’t have to worry about the Megalodon creeping up under your sailboat. This colossal being was not one to mess with, and although the Megalodon is now extinct, its memory most definitely deserves to be respected.The Megalodon had many physical and behavioural similarities to the great white shark; however, one of the main differences between the two was that the Megalodon was substantially more menacing and intimidating. The average great white can be anywhere from 15 to over 20 feet (4 to over 6 m) long. Yes these lengths are pretty impressive, but it does not even compare to the Megalodon shark. The exact lengths of these ancient sharks are still in discussion, however, we do know that the Megalodon was approximately 40 to 70 feet (12 to 21m) long!

Shark Anatomy

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Shark anatomy begins with the skin. If you’ve ever felt the rough, harsh texture of sandpaper, you can undoubtedly imagine how it would feel to caress the skin of a shark. Yes, sharks are known for the menacing teeth in their mouths, but many do not even realise that their skin is made up of dermal denticles; these are minuscule placoid scales that are similar to teeth. These dermal denticles are even covered in enamel, called vitro-dentine, and they also include dentine and a pulp cavity; they are extremely comparable with teeth.If you were to look inside the body of a shark, you would notice many of the same organs that humans have. The skeleton of a shark is entirely composed up of cartilage. It is a bit alarming, but sharks do not have bones. The fact that sharks have cartilage instead of bone is extremely beneficial. Cartilage is lighter than bone; this helps the shark stay afloat. Because cartilage is also extensively durable and flexible, sharks have the ability to have tight radius turns. Without a doubt, sharks use more than their eyes and ears to track down prey. Around a shark’s head is an entire sensory network called the ampullae of Lorenzini, a very unique part of the shark anatomy. Each ampulla is composed of a cluster of sensory cells that ultimately enables sharks to detect prey that may be hiding in the sand, and even possibly notice changes in the water’s temperature, pressure, salinity, magnetic fields, and mechanical stimuli. The lateral line is another sensory system that works simultaneously with the ampullae of Lorenzini. Together, they make up the electrosensory portion of the shark’s sensory system. Neuromasts are structures that make up the lateral line, and they alert the shark whenever there’s movement from prey. The lateral line is similar to ears because it detects low-frequency vibrations. Vibrations from a distance can be detected easily by the lateral line, and the direction of water flow can also be determined by the lateral line.

Myths and Misconceptions

Is a shark a mammal or reptile? How many bones does a shark have?
Sleep? not in the shark world. If you drag a shark backwards will it drown?

The shark is a fish.Yes, some species can drown because they constantly need to swim. When shark fishing, if you drag the shark back and forth, you can drown it. When a Shark swims they constantly have to move in a wave-like motion. This helps push the water into their gills where they take the oxygen from the water. Once they stop, or are forced into a backwards motion. This prevents the Shark from getting oxygen and fills its lungs up with water.

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It’s the shark’s reputation for being deadly that you’ve probably heard most about.
you might be surprised to discover humans are not part of the sharks diet and they aren’t quite as scary as you may think. sharks simply don’t like the taste of us, the reason a shark will bite is simply out of mistaken identity or curiosity. sharks use a process similar to a human toddler.

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what sharks see from below

From the picture you can see how it would be easy for a shark to mistake us for its prey.

Impact

At the turn of the 20th century, there was this perception that sharks had never attacked a human being. That began to change when a deadly rampage by a rogue great white shark on swimmers along the New Jersey shoreline and in a nearby creek during the summer of 1916 — attacks that helped inspire “JAWS” The movie gave sharks to much of an ability to engage in revenge. As a result of depicting sharks as monsters, shark hunting competitions shot up This trend in hunting sharks resulted in a dramatic decline of all shark species over the world. The movie helped initiate the decline by making it sexy to hunt sharks.

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The massacre of Sharks

How often are humans hurt?

Most attacks on humans are provoked attacks, usually when a shark bites a fisherman.
Each year, there are less than 100 shark attacks on humans across the globe and most of those are not fatal. In fact, on average, there are an average of 4.2 fatal shark attacks on humans every year, worldwide.

Conclusion

Ultimately, when it comes to facts about sharks, there is still so much more for us to learn.
We often fear what we don’t understand, and we have lived in fear of these beautiful animals for so long.While we’ve only touched the surface of who they are and why they’re here, as we learn more about them, we realise more and more that sharks are far more important to the fragile marine ecosystem than we ever imagined.

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