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80 Interesting Facts about Sharks!


1.The first sharks lived more than 400 million years ago—200 million years before the first dinosaurs. They have changed very little over the eons.


2.Sharks belong to a group of fish known as the elasmobranchs, or cartilaginous fishes. Rays and skates, which may have evolved from sharks, also belong to this group.


3.Because sharks very rarely get cancer, scientists study their cartilage in the hopes of finding a cure for the disease.

4.The first written account of a shark attack is found in Herodotus’ (c. 484–425 B.C.) description of hordes of “monsters” devouring the shipwrecked sailors of the Persian fleet.


5.While blood likely does not provoke a shark to attack, a shark in the vicinity likely can detect the blood. Without any conclusive proof of how sharks might respond, some scientists suggest women stay out of the water while menstruating.

6.When a shark eats food that it can’t digest (like a turtle shell or tin can), it can vomit by thrusting its stomach out its mouth then pulling it back in.


7.A shark’s jaw is not attached to its cranium. Because its mouth is situated on the underside of its head, a shark can temporarily dislocate its jaw and jut it forward to take a bite.


8.Before sandpaper was invented, people used the rough skin of sharks, called shagreen, to smooth and polish wood. Japanese warriors wrapped the skin around the handles of their swords to keep the swords from slipping out of their hands.

great white shark

9.The first pup to hatch inside the sand tiger shark mother devours its brothers and sisters until there are only two pups left, one on each side of the womb. This form of cannibalism is called oophagy.


10.The first use of the word “shark” in English occurred in 1569. Previously, English sailors and fishermen used the term “sea dog” or the Spanish tiburón. It could possibly be from the German Schorck, which is a variant of Schurke (“scoundrel villain”) from shürgen (“to poke, stir”).


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