How do we visualize a shark when we first think of it? A huge ferocious predator portraying their dorsal fins while moving unflinchingly through the dark blue oceans! Isn’t it exactly the way they are depicted in movies? But are they scary enough actually? No. Sharks raise a very little threat to human beings. As a matter of fact, about 30 people die of shark attacks every year whereas human beings poach hundreds of millions of them a year for their dorsal fins, a practice popularly known as shark finning.
Sharks are one of the most amazing species of fish with a cartilaginous skeleton existing in all the five oceans present in the world. Having an acute sense of smell in combination with their electroreceptors, they can detect the slightest smell or movement of their prey in a wide-ranging radius around them. But these are not the only amazing facts about them.
Here, listed below are the 7 most astounding facts about sharks that have a place among the most elegant species in existence…
Glowing in the depth
The deep sea lantern sharks possess bio-luminescent properties. That is, they are able to glow in the deep waters where sunlight isn’t able to penetrate through. This helps them to disguise themselves from predators and also to attract the krills they feed on.
Cloning of sharks
Yes, researchers have found that some female shark species can clone themselves, a process scientifically known as “parthenogenesis”. One such incidence of cloning was recorded in 2001 where a captive female hammerhead shark at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo had given birth to a seven inch long pup. Another incident turned out to be in Detroit’s Belle Isle Aquarium where a bamboo shark was born in a similar way. Not just bamboo and hammerheads, zebra sharks are also found to be reproducing asexually.
Are sharks colors blind?
Despite having extraordinary sensory skills, sharks view their world in black and white. There was an extensive research by Dr. Nathan Scott Hart over 17 different species of sharks (tiger sharks being one of them) where it was concluded that they possess none or only one type of cone receptor off seven. Having no suitable cone receptors makes them unable to distinguish different colors and hence, are color blind.
Having higher mercury content than any other fish
Have you ever thought of having shark meat or shark fin soup for dinner today? If you haven’t, you should not think of it either. Sharks fins’ and meat contains very high concentrations of toxic chemicals like lead, arsenic, urea, and even very high mercury content that accumulates in their body for years and is fatal for our health. However, it is sad that despite having threat to life, people continue eating shark meat due to cultural practices.
Shark repellents or just a myth?
There’s a tiny fish named “Moses Sole” that dwells in the Red Sea. It is an amazing fact that regardless of being a miniature, it is never an easy prey for giants like sharks. It releases a milky chemical toxic for sharks when confronted by that allows them to escape from their confinement. Scientists are trying to replicate the chemical to be used as shark repellents for human beings.
Not the largest only in the shark species, the giant whale sharks are found to be the largest species of fish in the entire world. The world’s longest shark has a Guinness book world record for being 41.5 ft long and can grow up to 60 ft. There was even a larger predator shark named”Carcharodon megalodon” being 52 ft long with a mouth about 6 ft wide which is sadly an extinct species now. On the contrary, the tiny lantern sharks that can grow only 7 to 8 inches are the smallest of the species ever known.
Mind-boggling bite force of the great white sharks
A computer model in 2008 suggested that the massive white sharks can generate a bite force as high as 4000 psi as opposed to the tigers that can trigger a bite force of 1000 psi. Great white sharks are said to have the largest bite force in the class of fish. Though, the bite force hasn’t been measured actually, it still is mind-boggling to imagine such a huge force.