Sharks are a group of fish characterized by a cartilaginous skeleton, five to seven gill slits on the sides of the head, and pectoral fins that are not fused to the head. Modern sharks are classified within the clade Selachimorpha and are the sister group to the rays. However, the term "shark"... MORE
Sharks are a group of fish characterized by a cartilaginous skeleton, five to seven gill slits on the sides of the head, and pectoral fins that are not fused to the head. Modern sharks are classified within the clade Selachimorpha and are the sister group to the rays. However, the term "shark" has also been used for extinct members of the subclass Elasmobranchii outside the Selachimorpha, such as Cladoselache and Xenacanthus. Under this broader definition, the earliest known sharks date from more than 420 million years ago. Since then, sharks have diversified into over 470 species. They range in size from the small dwarf lanternshark, a deep sea species of only 17 centimetres in length, to the whale shark, the largest fish in the world, which reaches approximately 12 metres. Sharks are found in all seas and are common to depths of 2,000 metres. They generally do not live in freshwater although there are a few known exceptions, such as the bull shark and the river shark, which can survive and be found in both seawater and freshwater. They breathe through five to seven gill slits. LESS
A GROUP of German tourists got the shock of a lifetime when a hungry great white attacked their RUBBER boat. These images show the 12ft female savaging the side of the vessel, causing part of it to deflate. The attack took place off the coast of Mossel Bay in South Africa. The tourists had been on a sightseeing expedition to watch seals when the shark turned up. Rainer Schimpf, who organised the tour, believes the shark mistook the boat for a dead whale. Footage: Rainer Schimpf Producer: John Baslon Editor: Ian Phillips
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