Sharks are much older than dinosaurs. Their ancestry dates back more than 400 million years, and they are one of evolution’s greatest success stories. These animals are uniquely adapted to their ocean environment with six highly refined senses of smell, hearing, touch, taste, sight, and even electromagnetism. As the top predators in the ocean, great white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) face only one real threat to their survival: us. The assaults are many. By-catch: the accidental killing of sharks by fishermen's longlines and trawlers. Illegal poaching: selling shark fins for soup. Illegal hunting: sportsfishing for shark jaws as trophies. Nets: placed along coastlines to keep sharks away from beaches. Pollution: toxins and heavy metals that build up in the shark's body. In some areas great white populations have plummeted by over 70%. If not stopped, it could lead to the extinction of this ancient species.
LESSON PLANS & ACTIVITIES
Great White Shark
Great White Sharks breach to hunt -- with split-second timing they grab their prey in one swift snatch. Follow the whole breaching action in this slideshow.
© Morne Hardenberg