With over 500 known species to date, sharks come in a variety of different shapes and sizes, each with their own unique behaviours and fascinating anatomy.
They have roamed the Earth’s seas for 400 million years, pre-dating dinosaurs by 200 million, and unlike many creatures have remained almost completely unchanged.
The general anatomy of sharks is fairly consistent across the different species, and the fact that they have remained unchanged for so long underlines just how effective their anatomical make-up is.
Unlike most fish that have just one gill, sharks boast five to seven gill slits on the sides of the head, and rely on a large oil filled liver for buoyancy as opposed to a gas-filled swim bladder.
Generally sharks eat live prey, but have been known to feed on large whale carcasses.
Sharks exist in all seas, within a wide range of aquatic habitats and varying temperatures.
Sitting at the top of the marine food chain, sharks are the majestic creatures of the sea, surrounded by myth and misconception and striking fear into many due to their often negative media coverage and movie portrayals.
Although it is understandable that many would prefer not to come face to face with a shark, attacks on humans are extremely rare and they are much more scared of us than we could ever be of them.
Chondrichthyes have skeletons made up of cartilage rather than bone, and lack a swim bladder.
This particular class of fish contains over 600 species, including sharks, rays and skates.
Sharks may have up to 3,000 teeth at one time and are fully embedded into the gums, as opposed to being directly affixed to the jaw.
The shape and size of the teeth vary depending on their purpose, and there are four main types of shark teeth: Sharks continuously grow multiple rows of replacement teeth in a groove inside of the jaw, and are usually replaced one at a time as opposed to entire rows.
Only a handful of species are solitary hunters, such as the great white shark, but even these species often coexist at active hunting or breeding grounds.