EXPERTS forecast an increase in the number of shark attacks over the next few years thanks to environmental initiatives.
The rise in fatal incidents have prompted further questions about the composition of the deadly beasts compared to their human counterparts.
Do sharks have bones?
Sharks do not have bones.
Instead, they use their gills to filter oxygen from the water.
They are a special type of fish known as “elasmobranchs”.
This means they are made of cartilaginous tissue.
In humans this is the stuff that our ears and nose tip are made of.
As a result, sharks do not have a skeleton in the traditional sense – there skeleton is made up of cartilage.
Why do sharks have cartilage instead of bones?
Cartilage is strong, but unlike bone it is squishier and can bend.
Although it’s too rubbery to support the weight of a person, for sharks it’s ideal.
According to Florida International University, sharks’ cartilaginous skeletons have helped them survive and thrive.
This is because cartilage is lighter then bone, meaning sharks don’t have to exert so much energy to swim.
Importantly it stops them from sinking when they stop swimming.
Cartilage also makes sharks faster and its jaws more flexible and extendable.
They can open their mouths much wider meaning the force of their bite is much more powerful.
Many large sharks, like great hammerheads, love to eat smaller sharks, while orcas, or killer whales, will eat large white sharks.
Do sharks have a vertebrae?
Yes, sharks do have vertebrae.
According to Discovery, sharks are classed as vertebrates because they have a spinal column just like a human.
However there’s nothing in the definition that says it must be made of bone.
Like humans, the primary role of a vertebrae in a shark is to protect the spinal cord.
However, it’s much more flexible than its human counterpart and essential to the way a shark moves and operates.
For example, the flexible vertebrae allows the energy to be stored and compressed in the spinal column.
The stored energy released at the end of the tailbeat, is what helps sharks power towards prey or away from a predator, scientists believe.
Source: The Sun