Let’s be honest, there are some animals that carry a lot of the world’s emotional baggage. Spiders are the creepy, crawly critters that go bump in the night. Snakes are slimy and cold to the touch. Mice are the last things you want to see in your house. Sharks, however, probably come with the most baggage of all. As the apex predator of the ocean, shark probably deserve the reputation that they have. As scary as sharks can be, it’s important to acknowledge their important role in nature. Having been such a dominant predator for so long, sharks have essentially shaped the food chain of the ocean ecosystem. The chain effect of sharks eating the weak ripples through the entire ocean ecosystem, thus determining which species continue to survive and which are ultimately pruned. Interested in learning more? Read below for more shark wall mural facts!
Species & Age
- Sharks are pretty frightening. Want to know something that will unnerve you even more? There are over 500 species of sharks in the ocean! All of these species vary in size, shape, oceanic environment and diet. Many sharks are small enough to be confused for large, regular fish. Some are gigantic and can grow to be over 40 feet long! One of the most interesting species is the Mistukurina Owstoni, most commonly known as the goblin shark. Goblin sharks got that name because their odd faces resemble fantasy creatures more than those of sea creatures! They are one of the oldest living species of sharks; they date back to around 125 million years ago.
- As previously mentioned, goblin sharks can be traced back to having existed over 100 million years ago. Are you wondering how old sharks really are? Nobody can say for certain, but most scientists tend to agree that sharks first evolved around 400 million years ago. Some believe that they may have come into existence earlier. Why? Sharks have a flexible cartilage skeleton, which degrades in the ocean after a shark’s death quickly. In other words, there aren’t many shark fossils to study, unlike fish who have bones that can be preserved for a nearly infinite amount of time. Read below for more shark wall mural facts.
Teeth & Threats
- Adults have 32 teeth. Did you know that sharks can have over 300 teeth at any given time during their lives? Sharks have several rows of teeth, and in some ways, their teeth are like those of a human. Did you know that just like humans, sharks lose their teeth? Typically adults only lose their teeth as children to make way for adult teeth. Sharks lose their teeth consistently throughout their lives. In fact, a single shark can shed up to 30,000 teeth in a lifetime! Due to this, shark teeth litter the ocean floor. Ever bought a shark tooth necklace? That didn’t come from the mouth of a deceased shark, it came from the ocean floor!
- Speaking of teeth, those sharp things are what make sharks so deadly. That said, did you know that sharks, although scary, should be much more afraid of humans than the reverse? Why? That’s because the fishing industry kills up to 100 million sharks a year for their dorsal fins. Why the fins? They sell for high prices due to their cultural and culinary value. Their fins are often used for shark fin soup; this soup has been prized in Chinese cuisine for over 1,000 years and was once a type of food that symbolized the power of the Chinese aristocracy! Read below for more shark wall mural facts.
Embryos & Shark Sense
- Did you know that sharks lay eggs? It’s true! Unlike chickens, these eggs usually aren’t consumed. Did you know that shark embryos are nearly as tough as their full grown counterparts? Wondering how? The biggest shark embryo in a litter is often known to eat the other embryos it shares and egg sack with. This is known as intrauterine cannibalism; or cannibalism in the “womb”. Scientists closely studied the litters of sand sharks and were surprised by their findings. In one case, a litter of 12 was eventually reduced to one; the biggest embryos ate every single one of its sibling before leaving the sack! Scary, or what? It seems like sharks are born and bred fighters from the moment they begin life.
- Did you know that sharks have some of the most sensitive senses among any type of creature? Sharks have an amazing sense of smell. A single drop of blood in the water can be smelled by a shark several miles away. In other words, if you’re bleeding it’d be smart idea to stay out of any open water! Did you know that sharks also have a sense that regulated by specialized organs? They have organs called the “ampullae of Lorenzini” that are located near their nostrils. These organs allow a shark to sense small electrical fields that other fish generate. By sensing these fields from a distance, sharks can more easily close in on their prey! Scary, right? Did you enjoy reading these shark wall mural facts?
Sharks are truly one of the most frightening creatures in existence. That said, they play an important role in our lives. They cultivate the ocean ecosystem, provide sustenance in many cultural cuisines, and they’re popular pop culture fixations. We’re not saying you shouldn’t be scared of them, but it’s important to acknowledge that there’s more to them than just being man-eaters! We hope you enjoyed reading these shark wall mural facts!