Day 47: 08/11/13: 12 Random Shark Facts

Thanks to for these fascinating fragments:

1.  Even though almost equal numbers of men and women spend time in the ocean, no one knows why sharks seem to prefer to attack men. In fact, nearly 90% of shark attacks have happened to men.

2. Hammerhead sharks’ heads are soft at birth so they won’t jam the mothers’ birth canals.

3. The first pup to hatch inside the sand tiger shark mother devours its brothers and sisters until there are only two pups left, one on each side of the womb. This form of cannibalism is called oophagy.

4. Sharks belong to a group of fish known as the elasmobranchs, or cartilaginous fishes. Rays and skates, which may have evolved from sharks, also belong to this group.

5. Recent research indicates that when a shark plies surface waters (when the dorsal fin cuts through the sea’s surface), it could be detecting pressure waves associated with a struggling animal nearby.

6. In 1977, Happy Days’ Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli jumped over a penned-in shark while on water skis, giving birth to the expression “jumping the shark” to describe a desperate dramatic measure by a TV show.

7. For every human killed by a shark, humans kill two million sharks.

8. Solomon Islanders believed that when people died, their ghosts inhabited the bodies of sharks.

9. The second-most dangerous shark in the world, the tiger shark, is sometimes called the “garbage can of the sea” because it will eat anything, including animal carcasses, tin cans, car tires, and other garbage. One was even found having a chicken coop with the remains of bones and feathers inside its stomach.

10. When a shark eats food that it can’t digest (like a turtle shell or tin can), it can vomit by thrusting its stomach out its mouth then pulling it back in.

11. The first written account of a shark attack is found in Herodotus’ (c. 484–425 B.C.) description of hordes of “monsters” devouring the shipwrecked sailors of the Persian fleet.

12. Dreaming has been observed in bony fish, but not yet in sharks.

Until I read that last fact, I never considered the title of this blog from the perspective of dreaming sharks.

And so, in yet another effort to overcome this innate self-centeredness, I joined The San Diego Shark Protectorate, a meetup group devoted to shark conservation.

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