Q:

Are sharks vertebrates or invertebrates?

A:

Quick Answer

Sharks are classified as vertebrates in the phylum Chordata. Although their skeletons are made of cartilage rather than hard bone, they are still considered vertebrates.

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Full Answer

Sharks belong to the class Elasmobranchii, which is made up of around 1,000 species of sharks, rays and skates. The fins of cartilaginous fish, such as sharks, do not bend or fold into their bodies like those of bony fish. This makes their dorsal fins stand rigidly so that they poke ominously out of the water when the sharks are near the surface. However, most sharks do not swim near the surface of the water, preferring to stay near the bottom or mid-waters.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    How big can sharks grow?

    A:

    The largest shark, a whale shark grows to a length of 60 feet or more and can weigh as much as 20 tons. Whale sharks are not only the biggest shark in the world but also the biggest fish.

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  • Q:

    What would happen if sharks became extinct?

    A:

    If sharks became extinct, there would be ecological repercussions, such as small animal extinction, algae overgrowth and coral reef death. Sharks are a crucial part of the marine ecosystem and are necessary for the world's oceans to operate.

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  • Q:

    Where are sharks located?

    A:

    Sharks live in every ocean of the world, with most species occupying waters no deeper than 7,000 feet. The Portuguese dogfish is the deepest-living shark and can be found at a depth of 12,000 feet. Some sharks, such as the bull shark, are capable of surviving in fresh water.

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  • Q:

    How do sharks communicate?

    A:

    Different sharks communicate within their own species in different ways; for example, the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History reports that great white sharks can communicate with each other by gaping their jaws while the University of Michigan says that gray reef sharks communicate using their senses of sight and touch. In general, sharks are not believed to have linguistic communication abilities, relying instead on other senses to communicate.

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