Poor sharks have earned a somewhat villainous reputation, no thanks to Hollywood movies I think! So it was with much interest, and a new outlook, that I read a case study in a textbook: Living in the Environment/G.Tyler Miller, Jr.
* there are 370 shark species
* the smallest, the dwarf shark is as large as a goldfish, the largest, the whale shark can grow to 15m, weighing in at 2 ellies!
* sharks play a very important ecological role, that is keeping the ocean free of dead and dying fish which would otherwise litter the waters.
*the largest sharks, namely the basking shark, whale shark an megamouth shark are actually "genlt giants" which feed by filtering water through their mouths thereby consuming plankton.
* you are 30x more likely to get struck by lightning than to be killed by a shark, and there's not much likelihood of being struck by lightning.
*a total of 100 million sharks are killed annually, mainly for their fins, then they are thrown back into the water to die
* yet, tests done show that shark fins have a dangerously high mercury content. Why is an interesting question??
*sharks take 10-24 years to reach sexual maturity, only have 2-10 offspring once or twice a year and a long gestation period of up to 24months make them very vulnerable to population declines.
* they have taken 400 million years to evolve to their present species!
... and now we wait for Jose to post some pics