Bytes of Truth: Simple Science Behind Shark Week

Tomorrow is the first day of Shark Week:  the Discovery Channel’s annual phenomenon that stirs a nationwide morbid fascination with these nightmarish cruising predators of the briny deep.

This year’s programming includes shows such as Voodoo Sharks, Sharkpocalypse, and Alien Sharks of the Deep. In preparation for the event, Scholar Hero provides you with a short list of shark facts to get you acquainted with the glorious field of elasmobranchology (shark science):

Photo Source:

(Photo Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwshq/)

 The Real Sense of Danger

Contrary to popular fear, the likelihood of an attack fatality is about 1 in 3,748,067. Even in those circumstances, humans are not their intended prey—but the seals that we look like are.  Most attacks are non-lethal “hit-and-runs,” commonly perpetrated by one of a dozen of species (there are over 300).

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Citizens of the underwater world. (Photo Source: Ryan Espanto http://www.flickr.com/photos/ryn413/

Unique Adaptations

Modern sharks have existed for over 100 millions years and have adapted many unique attributes. Notable ones are their receptors that detect electrical signals produced by the movement of other living beings. Additionally, high levels of urea in their blood prevents water loss through osmosis.

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The fact of a Lemon shark. (Photo Source: Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk http://www.flickr.com/photos/maritimeaquarium/)

Social Sense

Showing a remarkable amount of social behavior, Lemon sharks keep to circles of friends and even learn from each other. While most sharks do form social structures, Lemon sharks are very selective about the company they keep.

To learn more about sharks beyond the gory yet insightful onslaught of Shark Week, check out the National Geographic site (http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/sharks/) on them here. Shark Week starts August 4th on the Discovery Channel.

Sources: http://news.softpedia.com/news/13-Things-You-Did-not-Know-About-Sharks-68082.shtml

http://www.cracked.com/funny-742-sharks/

http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/sharkseat.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/27/sharks-killed-per-hour-infographic_n_2965775.html

http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2013/03/11/shark-have-social-networks-learn-from-friends/

 Nathan Repp is a writer for Scholar Hero, Inc.

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