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"Itís tail swayed slowly from side to side, pushing the hunters body
through the murky water. All signs of motion were non-existant, except for the
rhythmic movement of the water over the five gill slits on either side of itís
head. Slowly gaining speed, the shady figures unmoving eyes fixed on itís
target, a lost harbor seal pup. As the distance between the predator and itís
prey grew closer, the jaws of the massive fish drew forward, exposing nearly
eight rows of razor sharp teeth. Strings of itís previous meal hung in rows
from between itís teeth. Sensing danger, the harbor seal frantically tried to
find a place to seek refuge, but it was too late. The jaws of the shark closed
around the seal with an astounding 14,000 pounds of pressure, cutting the seal
in half. The Great White shark claims another victim.1"
Any one whoís seen the famous movie series "Jaws" may look at the Great
White Shark in a similar manner. Perhaps itís the way that Hollywood uses a mix
of fact and fiction in the series. This may have frightened many people into
hating the Great White for itís ferocity. It might have also been the size of
the shark in the movie thatís kept thousands of people off the beaches and out
of the water. Better yet, it could have been the overall storyline: A Great
White shark with an eating disorder and a taste for human flesh. Perhaps thatís
what is keeping vacationers from grabbing their trousers and snorkels.
Over all, there have been 1026 attacks on humans by sharks in the last
ten years. Only 294 of these attacks have been linked to Great White sharks.
Thatís roughly the number of people who drown each year in swimming accidents.
Of these 294 attacks, less than eighteen percent were fatal. Out of the
eighteen fatal incidents more than seventy percent was contributed to loss of
blood. This means that the shark didnít kill the victim. The shark bit the
victim and then released them (also known as the taste test). The shark samples
the victim by nibbling on an appendage or two often resulting in a severed
artery or other major blood vessel. Therefore, the Great White should be
considered a mantaster not a maneater.
This intrigued scientists considering the size of the sharks brain. The
Great Whites brain is about one half the size of a dogs. Over seventy percent
of the brain is used for tracking prey. The other thirty percent is used for
body functions. Studies show that the sharks main purpose is to eat. People
think that the sharks main purpose is to kill. This is incorrect, sharks only
eat when they are hungry. Impulses from the brain are sent to the jaws and the
stomach telling the shark that it is time to hunt for food.
"Why do sharks not follow a basic attack pattern on a human? In a human
attack, the primary strike is usually the only contact, as though the shark
finds us(humans) to be unpalatable. There is a theory on this as well,
involving the differences in our anatomy and the pinnipeds(seals, sea lions).
We are mostly muscle where the pinniped body has a great deal of fat. It is
theorized that the shark somehow senses this and abandons us as a potential meal
because our bodies are not as energy-rich as the pinnipeds. Of course, this is
often enough to kill us - or at least, really screw up our day!"
Cold Hard Facts
The Great White shark has remained unchanged for 250 million years. Ití
s greek name is Carcharodon carcharias. This is derived from carcharos meaning ď
raggedĒ and odon meaning ďtoothĒ. There isnít a defined size range for the
Great White but most experts agree that the length of the shark is usually
between 12 and 16 feet with the maximum figure being about19 to 21 feet. (The 21
foot is an actual record from 1948. The largest ever recorded!) If the Great
White is that big try to imagine the size of those massive jaws and teeth, Not
to mention the enoromous power behind those jaws.. These huge eating machines
used to be even bigger! The Great White was once known as Carcharodon megalodon.
The only difference in between the Great White and this previous model is size.
The Carcharodon megalodon was MASSIVE compared to the modern day Great White.
Averaging forty to forty-five feet in length, it is theorized that this giant of
the deep could swallow a city bus
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Sharks, Lamnidae, Great white shark, Scavengers, Megalodon, Jaws, Outline of sharks, Lamniformes
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