Prehistoric Shark Megalodon

Megalodon was an ancient shark that may have been 40 feet (12 m) long or even more. (There are a few scientists who estimate that it could have been up to 50 or 100 feet (15.5 or 31 m) long!) This is at least two or three times larger than the Great White Shark, but this is only an estimate made from many fossilized teeth and a few fossilized vertebrae that have been found. These giant teeth are the size of a person's hand! No other parts of this ancient shark have been found, so we can only guess what it looked like. Since Megalodon's teeth are very similar to the teeth of the Great White Shark (but bigger and thicker), it is thought that Megalodon may have looked like a huge, streamlined version of the Great White Shark.

History of Deadly Sharks

Most sharks have to keep moving to breathe and stay alive. They breathe by swimming forward with their mouths open, allowing water to flow across their gills. Most can't stop for long. Sometimes sharks rest in places where there is current so water moves over their gills. The large amount of oil in the shark's liver helps it float. The Tiger Shark is considered one of the most dangerous sharks because it is the most common large shark. It hunts in shallow waters and will eat anything that will fit in its mouth. Sharks can sense weak electrical signals produced by the muscle movements of animals. The Great White Shark is responsible for more attacks on people than any other shark. Shark skin was also used on the handles of swords so that warriors' hands would not slip when they became sweaty. Shark oil was once used to make vitamin-A pills. It was also used to light lamps in some places of the world. Sharks were regarded as powerful beings by Pacific Islanders and were revered or worshiped by many island cultures.

Great Hammerhead sharks commonly prey on stingrays. Half of the shark species averages less than 1 meter long. The very first ancestors of sharks appeared 200 million years before dinosaurs roamed the earth. Sharks cannot swim backward or hover in water like bony fishes. A Thresher shark has the longest tail of any shark. Its tail is about as long as its body. Mako sharks are among the fastest sharks in the sea, reaching up to speeds of 20 mph for a few moments.

During mating, a male shark would bite the female to arouse her interest. Tiger sharks eat jellyfish and are not put off by the jellyfish's stings. Tiger sharks have been known to grab sea birds from the surface of the sea. As the shark grows, its new teeth are larger than the ones they replace. Some sharks produce different shaped teeth as they grow older.

Deadly Sharks Fun Facts

1) The Blue Shark is about 12 feet long

2) The Bull Shark is the third most dangerous to people.

3) The Shark Megalodon means "Giant Tooth"

4) The strongest shark bite belongs to the dusky shark (Carcharhinus obscurus); its jaws have been measured to exert 132 pounds of force.

5) Sharks have prowled Earth's seas, essentially unchanged, for 400 million years. Their size, power, and great, toothy jaws fill us with fear and fascination. And though sharks kill only a few people each year, media coverage and movie portrayals of attacks have marked sharks as voracious killing machines. Our fears—and appetites—fuel an industry that hunts more than 100 million sharks each year and threatens to purge these vital predators from the seas.

6) A shark can hear a fish in the water from more than a mile away.

7) Sharks can be fussy eaters. Sometimes they will take a bite out of their prey or just sink their teeth in to get a taste before they start really feeding. If they don't like the taste, they spit it out and move on.

8) Experts believe that the whale shark may be capable of living up to 150 years, making it one of the longest-living creatures on Earth.

9) Shark meat has an unpopular image as food, so fish markets and chefs change the name of shark meat to rock salmon, rock eel, huss or flake.

10) Baby sharks are born with sharp teeth and the ability hunt right from the start.

11) Pigs kill more people every year than sharks do.