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:

    What are some characteristics of sharks?

    A:

    Sharks belong to the fish family, and are characterized by having skeletons that are made from cartilage rather than bone, a series of five to seven gill slits located on both sides of their body for respiration purposes, multiple rows of teeth for feeding which regrow after they have become loose or have fallen out and skin that is composed of a series of scales. Sharks have withstood the test of time; the species has populated Earth for more than 400 million years without exhibiting any drastic evolutionary changes. Although there are only a handful of fatalities related to sharks each year, they are highly predated upon by human beings with over 100 million hunted each year.

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  • Q:

    Where do sharks live?

    A:

    Sharks live in all the world's oceans. A few species can also live in fresh water. Sharks inhabit a wide variety of habitats within the ocean and can live in depths of up to 6,600 feet.

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  • Q:

    Are sharks blind?

    A:

    Sharks have the ability to see, but they cannot see colors. Dolphins, whales and other aquatic animals are also color-blind. Marine animals' survival is not dependant on the ability to see color, but rather the ability to see contrast in colors.

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  • Q:

    Do sharks have backbones?

    A:

    Sharks do not have a backbone because their skeletal system is made up of a softer cartilage, just like all the other fish that belong to the Chondrichthyes class. The cartilage found in sharks is not as hard as a real bone, but it is strong enough to support their muscular system and the rest of their body.

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