Our Friends the Sharks

Hollywood often paints a rather negative image when it comes to sharks. From films like Jaws to Finding Nemo, sharks have the reputation of being the bad guy. However, sharks are interesting creatures and deserve our respect. They may not be as cuddly as a harbor seal, but sharks have their own admirable traits.

Bad Reputation:

To start off, we should clear one thing up. According to the Florida Museum, there were only 155 “incidents” around the world involving sharks in 2017. This is not entirely composed of human and shark disagreements, this also accounts for shark and marine vessel conflicts.  Sharks are not as big of a threat as we think. Mother Nature Network reports various animals who cause more harm than sharks. Bees for example, who inspire severe allergies upon stinging. In a year there is an average of 478 fatalities due to bee sting allergies (Heimbuch). Yes, these creatures can be dangerous, but don’t count on them engulfing your vessel and swallowing it whole.

Things You Never Knew About Sharks:

Sharks inhabit most of the oceans with great populations. They range in size, and color, some like the sofa shark doesn’t even look like sharks, instead, they resemble large fish. They can live at the water’s surface or deep where the light is scarce. Each species is unique, and there are many interesting characteristics regarding sharks not typically heard of.

A Whole Lot of Teeth- You may have noticed that sharks have a lot of teeth, but what you see is just the tip of the iceberg. Great White sharks can sport about 30 teeth in their mouths at a time, however, a shark may burn through thousands of teeth during its lifetime (Wcisel). This is likely due to what the sharks eat and the amount that they eat. The loss of their teeth is not detrimental as they will regrow.

Got Bones? Sort of…- Sharks do not have bones like those of humans and other creatures. Think about how sharks move. Their movement is very fluid and bendy. Hard bones like those of the human skeleton would not allow sharks to be as agile and fluid as they are. Instead of bones, sharks have skeletons made up of cartilage (Wharton). It is mostly soft to allow for the movements needed in a shark’s life, but some areas are harder like the jaw and spine, obviously due to the about of use exerted upon these parts.

Older than Dinosaurs- It is a popular belief that dinosaurs were one of the first beings to walk this earth. This is true; however, sharks predate even dinosaurs by hundreds of millions of years (Shark Savers). They stemmed from the first types of fish and have adapted through millions of years to be the amazing creatures they are today. They rule the oceans and have been here well beyond modern mammals including humans. They are truly some of the oldest existing creatures.

Sharks may not be the friendliest creatures on earth, but they are by no means as grizzly as they are often portrayed. Much can be learned from sharks and there is much to be admired. These are millions of year old creatures that require just as much respect as any other being.

By: Heather Weller, Plea for the Sea (

Works Cited:

“450 MILLION YEARS OF SHARKS.” Shark Savers. 2018. Web. 20 March 2018.

Heimbuch, Jaymi. “11 animals more likely to kill you than sharks.” Mother Nature Network. 6 March 2018. Web. 20 March 2018.

Wharton, Jim. “Do Sharks Have Bones?” Beach Chair Scientist. 2 Jan. 2009. Web. 20 March 2018.

Wcisel, Michelle. “How many teeth does a white shark have?” Marine Dynamics. 16 Aug. 2012. Web. 20 March 2018.

“Yearly Worldwide Shark Attack Summary.” Florida Museum. Web. 20 March 2018.

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