Q:

What are shark skeletons made of?

A:

A shark's skeleton is composed of cartilage and a network of collagen fibers. This differs from most other vertebrates and allows for the especially efficient attachment of muscles, which results in little waste of mechanical energy. The cartilaginous skeleton of the shark is also lightweight compared with bone.

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The lightweight skeleton allows a shark to expend less energy when staying afloat, as all shark species lack a swimmer bladder. Due to a lack of bone and bone marrow, a shark must produce red blood cells in its spleen and its epigonal organ, a collection of specialized tissue around the gonads. A primitive backbone called the notochord is present in young sharks and is eventually replaced with cartilage.

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    Is a shark a mammal?

    A:

    A shark is not considered a mammal. Sharks are considered members of the paraphyletic group of organisms that contain gills, or in other words, fish.

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    How big is a newborn shark?

    A:

    Newborn shark sizes vary by shark species; for example, a newborn great white is typically about 4 feet long, while blacktip reef shark newborns are considerably smaller, usually more than 20 inches in length. Whale sharks, which are quite large in adulthood, give birth to live pups rather than laying eggs, and these newborn pups are typically about a foot and a half long, or 21 to 25 inches in length. Growth rates subsequent to birth may also vary by species.

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    What is the most aggressive shark?

    A:

    According to the Florida Museum of Natural History, the great white is the most aggressive shark toward humans. The International Shark Attack File shows that great white sharks were responsible for 403 shark attacks from 1580-2010.

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    How does a shark protect itself?

    A:

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