Want to know more about sharks? Check out our top 100 shark facts below which include wonderful photos and videos!  Scroll through the facts or use the category links to narrow your search.

Shark Facts: Categories

Shark Facts 100-95: Shark History & Evolution

 

Shark Fact #100

Sharks have been in our oceans for over 400 million years. Some of the earliest sharks were discovered dating back to the Devonian age.

Shark Fact #99

Sharks have survived five massive planet extinction events. These extinction events killed most life on earth and the last one around 65 million yeas ago killed the dinosaurs.

Shark Fact #98

Some of the sharks that we can see and dive with today have not changed for over 150 million years. 7 Gill sharks can be traced back 190 million years.

Devonian period 400 million years ago

7 Gill Cow Shark in South Africa

Shark Facts 94-89: Prehistoric & Extinct Sharks

 

Shark Fact #94

One of the earliest known species of sharks is the Cladoselache. The fossils of these 1.2 meter sharks are over 400 million years old.

Shark Fact #93

It is thought that at least 10 families of sharks existed during the Devonian Period (400 million years ago). They would later branch off to become other species.

Shark Fact #92

Stethacanthus was a shark that lived 345 to 280 million years ago. This shark possessed a fascinating dorsal fin that was flat and covered in large scales.

Artist impression of the Cladoselache Shark

Video of ancient sharks

Artist impression of Stethacanthus Shark

Shark Facts 88-83: Sharks and the Ocean

 

Shark Fact #88

Sharks are APEX predators. At the top of the ocean food chain they directly impact all other marine species below them, maintaining a balance in the ecosystem.

Shark Fact #87

Sharks sometimes act as scavengers and will often feed on dead animals such as whales. This is how sharks help keep our oceans healthy and marine life in check.

Shark Fact #86

Sharks help to make sure that reefs are protected from other predators to ensure the reef, and all the fish that live on and around the reef, thrive as an important ecosystem.

Great  White Shark eating a dead whale

Shark Facts 82-74: Sharks VS Humans

 

Shark Fact #82

Jaws wasn’t the first time sharks got a bad reputation. Ancient Greek historian Herodotus claimed a group of sharks destroyed a Persian fleet in the 5th century B.C., which may have been the first time sharks received a negative and killer reputation.

Shark Fact #81

97 Percent of all sharks are completely harmless to humans. This is due to their size and teeth design. Most shark teeth are not designed for large prey. These sharks stick to small prey like fish, crustaceans or cephalopods.

Shark Fact #80

Sharks DO NOT EAT people. Sharks are attracted to their natural prey. When sharks do come into contact with humans it is usually by mistaken identity or the shark was investigating a possible meal.

By © Marie-Lan Nguyen / Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12886457

Greek historian Herodotus

harmless

Diver cuts himself with sharks all around to prove sharks DO NOT eat people

Shark Facts 73-50: Shark Anatomy & Senses

 

Shark Facts 49-41: Shark Reproduction & Birth

 

Shark Fact #49

Although rare, a female shark can reproduce without any contact from a male. This is called parthenogenesis. Scientists have only documented a couple of cases, but some suspect that perhaps any female shark can get pregnant on her own in the right circumstances.

Zebra Shark (Stegostoma fasciatum)

Shark Fact #48

It’s a shark eat shark world! Sometimes even before the sharks are born. When some species’ embryos begin to develop teeth, they eat their unborn brothers and sisters until one shark remains, an act known as intrauterine cannibalism.

Shark Fact #47

Depending on the species, sharks display three ways to bear their young, 1) Oviparity = laying eggs

2) viviparity = born alive & functional 

3) ovoviviparity = Eggs hatch inside the adult female and sharks are born alive.

Tiger Shark pups

White Tip Reef Sharks (Triaenodon obesus)

Shark Facts 40-29: Shark Species & Taxonomy

 

Shark Fact #40

Sharks belong to the superorder

Selachimorpha in the subclass

Elasmobranchii in the class 

Chondrichthyes. The Elasmobranchii also include rays and skates because of the cartilage skeleton they both have in common.

Shark Fact #39

There are a number of "sharky" looking animals in the ocean that are actually rays, not sharks. Examples are the Guitar fish and the Bow Mouth Ray. Often these rays are called sharks incorrectly.

Shark Fact #38

There are more than 470 species of sharks split across thirteen orders, including four orders of sharks that have gone extinct.

Whale Shark & Manta Ray on the same dive

Guitar Ray or Guitar Shark?

Shark Orders

Shark Facts 28-11: Sharks & Record Holders

 

Shark Fact #28

The smallest shark in the world is the Dwarf Lantern Shark (Etmopterus perryi). A fully grown Dwarf Lantern Shark can measure to a maximum of 20cm.

Shark Fact #27

There are 3 plankton feeding sharks in the world. They are the Whale Shark (Rhincodon typus), the Basking Shark (Cetorhinus maximus) and the Megamouth Shark (Megachasma pelagios). 

Shark Fact #26

The largest living shark in the world is the Whale Shark (Rhincodon typus). These gentle giants feed mostly on plankton and grow to lengths of around 12-14 meters and weigh over 21 tons.

Dwarf Lantern Shark (Etmopterus perryl)

What is Plankton?

Whale Sharks and Manta Rays

Shark Facts 10-01: Sharks Threatened

 

Shark Fact #10

Unfortunately due to overfishing and shark finning, some populations of certain shark species have been hunted down by approximately 90%.

Shark Fact #09

Between 70 and 200 million sharks are being killed each year by target shark fishing. This industry is fuelled by the demand for shark products and for shark fin soup.

Shark Fact #08

One third of all living shark species are classed between Near Threatened (NT) and Critically Endangered (CR) by the IUCN Red List 

Man VS Shark - Alex Hofford & Paul Hilton

The Shark fishing industry

The IUCN Red List - How it Works

stevewoodsunderwater.com

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