Sharks are older than dinosaurs! Dinosaurs appeared roughly 230 million years ago. Based on fossils found in Australia and America scientists believe sharks have been living for the last 450 million years.
The smallest known shark on record is a Dwarf Lantern shark, reaching 15 cms, weighing in at half a kilo.
The Shortfin Mako shark is the world’s fastest recorded shark. It can clock in at speeds of up to 46 mph (76 km/h). It has an extremely streamlined body that is shaped like a torpedo that helps minimize drag as it cruises through the water.
Sharks can have a very impressive lifespan! It is believed that the Greenland shark (Somniosus microcephalus) can live for more than 400 years, and doesn’t reach maturity until it is over 100 years old. The oldest known living individual was born during the reign of James I and lived when the Great Fire of London (1666) raged. She reached adulthood around the time that the American revolution kicked off and lived through two world wars. And as far as we know she is still going. Incredible!
The oldest believed species of living shark is the Goblin shark that is thought to have been around for 120 million years.
The largest living shark is the Whale shark which grows up to 18 metres and weighs up to 14 tonnes.
The largest shark to have ever lived was the massive megalodon (Carcharodon megalodon) that is believed to have grown up to 30 metres in length. These huge sharks have been extinct for 3 million years.
Shark age can sometimes be estimated by counting the pairs of cloudy and clear bands on their vertebrae like rings on a tree. This gives a rough indication of age and is not completely accurate.
Great White sharks are known to breach clear of the water to catch their prey.
Angel sharks ambush prey and are believed to catch their food in one-tenth of one second.
Sharks are fascinating creatures which we still have so much to learn about. Explore below to find out some finteresting facts about sharks!