After digging out pictures on a sighting of a small, non-threatening shark (at least that’s what the locals say) on a trip to Hawaii quite a while ago, (I went here in case anyone was wondering) I got to thinking. Sharks are really fascinating creatures! They have captured the hearts of men all over. Feared for their apparent eating habits, only further fed by news reports and Hollywood movies, sharks are avoided and sometimes have been hunted and now not too many remain in the seas. However, many people have recognized the true majesty of the shark, thanks to science. In light of that, here are five things you probably didn’t know about sharks.
1. Only four types of sharks present a large threat to humans. There are more than 360 species of them, but only the great white, bull, tiger and the oceanic whitetip sharks are known for biting humans. These attacks are provoked more often than not, and sometimes even mistaken! There are a few more species which have attacked humans, but they rarely cause death.
2. Sharks only bite…sometimes! A shark cannot eat several times in a row like we can. Oftentimes a shark will bite something to check if it’s worth eating, much like people checking the back of the box for price and nutrition! If it senses that what it’s biting isn’t worth the digestive time, it releases the person, animal or object and goes off to find better food. Talk about discriminating!
3. Sharks may be afraid of dolphins! We’ve heard tales of dolphins protecting humans from sharks. An experiment was also done by Mythbusters where a mechanical dolphin was placed near a seal cutout and raw bait, while a great white shark was feeding. Instead of going for either target, the shark opted to stay away! He only went for it when the dolphin was removed. Scientists still can’t explain why, so don’t try to rent out a dolphin just yet.
4. Sometimes, sharks don’t need a mate to reproduce. There has been a documented case of a shark giving birth without male contact for three years. The newborn had no parental DNA, which makes it a close copy of its mother! This may be a last resort if there are no males around, but since they can’t evolve because of that, it may cause them to become extinct.
5. Sharks are worshipped as gods! Hawaii, that group of islands out in the Pacific Ocean, has more than its share of sharks. It’s not surprising that they model gods out of these creatures. These gods are said to be able to transform from human to shark at will! Many of them are said to be originally human. A common type of story about these gods goes like this: the shark in human form warns beach-goers about sharks in the water. They ignore him, and are later eaten by the human who warned them, who had turned into a shark. When someone warns you about sharks in the water, follow it!
We humans have not fully unraveled the true workings of the shark. Is it friend or foe? Hopefully these facts will make you appreciate sharks more. What other little tidbits do you know? Share them with us!
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