Sharks & Rays

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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...
Dr. Mahmood Shivji explains how shark DNA is used as evidence to prosecute...
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Sharks are one of nature’s most beautiful—and misunderstood—creatures. When...
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Long before great white sharks appeared, much larger ancestors roamed the ocean...

LATEST POSTS

An X-ray image of a Monterey skate ( Raja montereyensis ) reveals a spine that extends like a tail out from the pelvic fin. The skeletons of skates, rays, chimaeras, and sharks are made of cartilage, rather than bone. Scientists...
"Tens of millions of sharks are killed each year, often only for their fins...
The smallest shark, a dwarf lantern shark ( Etmopterus perryi ) is smaller...

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There are more than 500 species of sharks swimming in the world’s ocean. Yet when most people think of these cartilaginous...

The Ocean Blog

During the late Cretaceous period, Kansas was covered by a vast sea. There, scientists have found fossils of Squalicorax sharks (also called crow sharks) that lived 70-80 million years ago. They were...
Come play in South Africa’s False Bay, where wild creatures roam. Print out this board game to play at home or school.
Ever heard of a cookie-cutter shark ( Isistius brasiliensis )? They look like your average shark —sort of menacing and streamlined—but their name comes from how they feed. They eat smaller animals (...
Lying in water only a foot deep, I watched the shark meander lazily through the mangrove, already exuding the confidence inherent of the supreme creature within its domain. It was hot here in Bimini...
The foot-long extinct shark Falcatus falcatus lived during the early Carboniferous period around 325 million years ago. The species, known from fossils in the Bear Gulch formation of Montana , was...
Great white sharks ( Carcharodon carcharias ) are marvels of evolution, with highly-evolved senses keeping them among the ocean’s top predators. However, they are threatened with extinction and...
Every summer since 1987 (that's right, shark week is 26 years old!) the Discovery Channel has been bringing the ocean to our living rooms with a week-long tribute to all things shark. Here at the...
Known to many simply as “shark girl,” Madison Stewart is an inspiring young woman with a passion to protect the creatures most people fear: sharks. S he’s been diving with sharks since the age of...
Several Caribbean reef sharks swim over a coral reef in the Bahamas in this image captured by National Geographic photojournalist Brian Skerry. For nearly 30 years, Skerry has been swimming with and...
Enric Sala has spent much of his career looking for the ocean's "time machines" -- areas rich in biodiversity and largely unaffected by humans. In this recorded webcast , Sala, a National Geographic...
The smallest shark, a dwarf lantern shark ( Etmopterus perryi ) is smaller than a human hand. It's rarely seen and little is known about it, having only been observed a few times off the northern tip...
A shark nursery of blacktip reef sharks ( Carcharhinus melanopterus ) in a lagoon in the Pacific. Shark nurseries are found mainly in shallow water regions in which the shark pups can grow up while...
Is it an enormous eel? No—it's a shark! The frilled shark is named for its strange appearance , including a snakelike body, three pronged teeth, and gills that give the impression of a frilly collar...
In November 2012, Australia began protecting a huge swath of its ocean from overfishing and oil exploration, creating the largest network of marine reserves in the world at a grand total of 1.2...
How do we know where ocean animals swim day and night? Scientists are getting snapshots into the daily lives of whales , sharks , and even fish by tagging the animals to track their movements. You’ve...
An array of teeth from the sand tiger shark Carcharias taurus . The Smithsonian has the largest collection of shark teeth in the world, with more than 90,000 fossil shark teeth. More about sharks and...
“Once in a while, manta rays appear in great numbers in a small bay in the Baa Atoll. The concentration of plankton must be very high in this particular bay, because up to 200 manta rays have been...
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