By Erika, age 14
Sharks, the predators people fear due to lack of information about them. However, if you can pass your fear of death by shark, there are many cool things to learn about them. They are cartilaginous fish, so they don’t have bones and their skeletons are made of cartilage. Sharks have been around for about 450,000,000 years and there are about 440 known species of sharks today. They’re so tough that they even survived the mass extinction that killed the dinosaurs.
When classified by body shape, there are three main types of sharks. The first type are larger sharks, with long, thin bodies that cut through the water. These sharks are the most commonly known and can be found in open ocean. This category includes great white and tiger sharks.
The next group of sharks have small, slender bodies that can fit into small spaces, like in between mangrove roots. The sharks you can pet at aquariums like chain catsharks and dogfish fit into this category. The final category of sharks have flat, wide bodies and usually stay on the ocean floor. They burrow into the sand and ambush their prey. Sharks like wobbegongs fit into this category.
This is a basic introduction to sharks, and there is a lot more to learn about them. Believe it or not, sharks are actually in need of our protection! In Asia, shark finning is still going on. Shark finning is when fishermen catch sharks, cut off their fins, and then throw them back in the water. Fins don’t regenerate, so the sharks will die since they can’t move and catch prey. Shark fin soup is a delicacy in many asian cuisines, but people don’t have any use for the rest of the shark. So the next time you go out for Chinese food, skip the shark fin soup!