Link - Article by Avi Abrams and Lauren Axelrod

Jaws... Cue the Music.

They are perfect, relentless and always hungry. They never sleep and prowl the seas like nuclear-powered torpedoes. That would be a pretty bad rap for anybody, even though few sharks would attack a human without being provoked. Scientists claim that sharks kill without ill will or premeditation and thus cannot be labeled 'malicious'. Yeah, right :)

Great White (and Smirking) Killing Machine

These guys hang around the shores of South Australia, South Africa and often approach divers with a friendly nuzzle and a line "Are you talking to me?" -

(image credit: Sue Hickton)

Such images lend themselves very well to Photoshop:

These sharks have reputation as vicious predators, yet they are not unsystematic "eating machines". They attack from below in order to investigate what is floating on the surface.

(image credit: David Doubilet, National Geographic)

Great white sharks not only swim, they FLY!

See more pictures of the amazing hunt of great white sharks for seals in False Bay here.

(image credit: Eric Cheng)

This is definitely going to increase your confidence at sea: the enormous monster breaching the waves and flying at you with bloody dripping jaws. OK, it may not happen with such vivid color, but still....

(image credit: Lars-Gunnar Svard)

The Tiger shark is the fourth largest predatory shark. This shark is a solitary hunter, usually hunting at night. Its name is derivative from the dark stripes down its body, which grow fainter as the shark matures. It is infamous for attacks on swimmers, divers and surfers in Hawaii and is often referred to as "the wastebasket of the sea".

(image credit: Lars Kirchhoff)

Make way! The Boss is coming -

(image credit: Christie Fisher)

The tiger shark with a little "afternoon snack" -

(image credit: Christie Fisher)

Bull sharks often cruise through shallow waters and can suddenly burst into speed and can be highly aggressive. They are extremely territorial and will attack other animals and humans that enter their territory. Bull sharks are among the four species considered to be most dangerous to humans.

(images by wiki and Joe)

Here is a bit more aggressive photography:

(images via)

The first image shows the Shortfin Mako shark, one of the species that's officially responsible for eight unprovoked attacks on humans with two ending in fatality and twenty boat attacks.

In terms of size though, even the largest shark found on Earth today looks simply microscopic, compared to the size of prehistoric monsters, such as this Liopleurodon:

(image credit: Mark Witton)

Note that close to Liopleurodon's mouth is not a shark, but a huge plesiosaur, in itself the size of medium boat.

A few amazing facts about sharks: - via

- A shark does not have one bone in its body. Its skeleton is made up of cartilage. Cartilage is a tough material, like the material that shapes your ear.
- The Swell Shark, found in New Zealand, barks like a dog.
- Weird things have been found inside a shark, such as a bottle of wine, a treasure chest, a suit of armor, a drum and a torpedo.
- A shark’s skin is covered with denticles, which are small, razor-sharp teeth.

Not all huge sharks live in the warm or tropical waters. There is a shark species (still in many ways a mystery to biologists) that lives deep in the Artic water - sometimes as deep as 600 meters:

Greenland Sharks Lurk Beneath the Arctic Ice

The sleeper shark.... the "gurry" shark: the largest of Greenland sharks are comparable in size with the great white shark, although there is no record of them ever attacking humans. Check out these teeth though: small but razor-sharp -

(images by Nick Caloyianis National Geographic, and Canadian Shark Research Lab)

"Forget the cold. I kicked my fins and swam toward the shadowy figure. It turned and began moving toward me. I was face-to-face with a Greenland shark. I’d seen drawings and paintings of the fish, but this was utterly different. It was ghoulish. Its nostrils were the largest I had ever seen on a shark. They reminded me of a giant double-barreled shotgun. Its mouth was slightly open, revealing rows of small sharp teeth. Its eyes looked fogged over, like those of a dead fish, and from each one dangled a tasseled parasite." (Nick Caloyianis)

These guys are nearly blind, but they have a mouth big enough to eat a full-grown seal as some kind of muffin. There are also stories of these sharks attacking caribou as they drink from the mouths of rivers... and eating polar bears. So here you go.

OK, I am sure you are wondering by now, which shark has the biggest mouth and what exactly size of prey it can swallow. Check this out -

A Megamouth Shark!

This extremely rare (only a few have been seen so far) deep water shark has an enormous mouth with big flabby lips... Not just enormous, but freaking ILLUMINATED mouth (to attract some plankton to the light). Read more info here, it seems it's more of a relative to the ancient Coelacanth than normal sharks.

(image via US National Archives)

(images by Tom Haight, B. Hutchins, Marylin Baldo)

This is a species we did not know existed until 1976: only 41 such sharks have been found so far.

(image credit: Steve, Bruce Rasner)

And then there is a Ghost Shark with a big yellow eye, lighting up the creepy deeps like a sickly lantern:

(image via)

Ghost sharks (or "elephant sharks") have very strange long snouts, different from other sharks, and slimy, weirdly smooth skin (not the usual scales).

(image credit: Fir002)

And to finish this slighlty unsettling overview of the world's most efficient predators, please have a look at this Ghost Shark Egg:
(Most sharks give birth to their babies. Only a few sharks lay eggs)

(image credit: nuytsia)

It's more than a little otherworldly. Aliens would like to research this egg to better adapt to breeding in Earth's oceans.

Also Read: Odd-looking Marine Animals you Never Knew Existed and Out-of-this-world Fishing

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Category: Animals,Nature


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Blogger Kris McCracken said...

[...] So very, very cool [...]

Anonymous Anonymous said...

>> "Scientists claim that sharks kill
>> "without ill will... Yeah, right."

Yeah, right?

So you would trust your personal emotions, or urban legends, rather than scientific experiments?

Blogger Avi Abrams said...

That was sarcasm / irony. Scientists are right, of course.

Blogger veinglory said...

Irony aside you seem to be pushing the usual shark line (just liek all the shark documentary that spout a conservation lien or two but are mostly 'blood in the water' recreations). A passing comment about the plummeting number of most species and the involvement of gratuitous catching and killing as 'trophies' would have been appreciated.

A shark attack is by defintion "provoked" by something and those of us who grew up in area where sharks can be found know that the 'always hungry, perfect killing machine' blah blah blah line is most just a moral panic. Shark attacks are rare and either freak attacks of someone swimming where locals would have told them not to.

Sharks are fascinating for reasons other than having teeth. Recent telemetry data from Australiasia show how great whites migrate over previously unsuspected huge distances. So even when we protect them in one area they can still be wiped out in other. perhaps some stories like that might be nice?

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Before getting the wrong idea about these noble creatures, I suggest that you all try and get a hold of the following movie called "Sharkwater"

These noble creatures have been around for 400,000 years and are slowly being rendered extinct by Asian companies who set up illegal sharkfin businesses in Costa Rica. All for supposedly aphrodisical purposes.

In addition, sharks are not the blood thirsty predators that Hollywood has made us think they are. Get this movie, watch it- then see how your views change as to who the real monsters are.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Co Writer-Lauren

In my original article, the "Yeah right" was not present.

Just in case me friends at Triond check this out, the article has been changed to fit the guidelines of this website. Thanks for understanding.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Indeed sharks rarely attack people without some kind of provocation, unless their usual behavior have changed because of some ecological accident or poisoning of the big fish.

You can count the number of shark attacks on your fingers (mostly in Australia I mean, and only with your hand's fingers).

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awesoommee! So awesome. One day I'd like to go to the coast of South Africa so I can watch those bad boys jump into the air catching their "snacks." You outdid yourself with this one. Too cool.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my...I may never get back in the water.

Kim Buck

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for the comments everyone. This was a fun piece to write.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent and impressive!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great article!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I usually get scared when I go into the ocean. The water, you can't see more then an inch so who knows whats down there. These pictures don't help!

Blogger My Writing said...

Stunning ... cool ... fantastic

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know, I think I've just gone off snorkeling.

Blogger Zav said...

Sharks do have bones in their bodies. Their upper and lower jaws. That Ghost Shark does not not look like a shark, because it has dorsal fin rays. Also, THE coolest things about sharks is that they do not have intestines, they have a spiral valve that is much more orderly than our 26 feet of guts and they have Ampules of Lorenzini. The ampules are able to detect muscle contractions through electrical discharge in the water. Each shark comes equipped with these little detectors for all the other items in the sea that have muscles in them.

Blogger Avi Abrams said...

Thank you Zav, most enlightening comment... Spiral valve FTW

Blogger JK North said...

Very nice article.
But I'll probably never swim in the ocean again:)

Blogger Avi Abrams said...

We contact every photographer (wherever the source is known) and obtain permissions from them. If the source is not known, we ask for more info and will take photo down if needed.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a person who's frequently in the water, I find it very disturbing that people (photographers, tourism operators etc.) are teaching sharks to approach boats to be hand-fed. These creatures are very intelligent - Great Whites can swim thousands of kilometres/miles to arrive at a known feeding spot on the same day each year. So why would anyone with a brain be teaching such creatures to approach boats for a treat? What happens if you’re in the boat, and you have no shark treats?? Seriously, folks, keep your distance from sharks. They are wild creatures, and they don’t need to be close to us. We have a bad record for species extermination.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

the first ghost shark photo is actually a Chimaera monstrosa

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great article! I love anything shark-related, and this was some new information for me. Keep writing!

Anonymous Coffee Temptation said...

Ok, so my sister just found that exact same shark egg on the beach this morning at Collendina, next to Ocean Grove in Victoria, Australia. A very unusual find for the area! No storms or anything lately. It has taken all day to work out what is was! So what do you do with a shark egg these days?


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