Maggie Payne Per. 3 10/16/12 Final Draft Most people probably think that sharks appeared around the same time as dinosaurs. But in fact they were alive about 132 million years before the dinosaurs. Even though sharks are older than humans, we still know very little about them. The things we do know are their structure, most species’ habitats, and what sharks are used for by humans. The Goblin shark is slightly different from other species such as the Great White shark or the Hammerhead shark. But all sharks have an odd skeleton, it’s odd because it’s made up of cartilage and it’s very flexible.
Sharks also have slightly different organs from that of a human. For example, their stomach is very long, it stretches from the middle of their pectoral fin to the bottom of their belly. They also have spiral shaped intestines, a large liver, and a small heart located between the front of their pectoral fin and mouth, bellow the gills. They also have small spikes coating their skin called denticles. Sharks have the same five senses as humans do plus one extra sense. Shark’s have very small holes around their head called “ampullae of Lorenzini”.
These give sharks the ability to sense small electrical currents given off by other animals within one meter. Most sharks use this as an advantage while hunting while others don’t need to. For example, they will use it while hunting for fish hidden in the sand on the sea floor. Sharks are used for many things, which is causing them to become endangered. Their flesh is used for all sorts of food including, shark fin soup, fish and chips, smoked shark, canned shark and shark fish cakes, dog food, and sashimi.
Most of them are caught off of Honshu, a main island of Japan, causing the various Japanese dishes. Sharks are also used for various medical reasons like cornea transplants. Heart disease medicine is made with chemicals extracted from shark blood, there are even shark oil tablets. Burnt angel shark skin was once used to treat skin disease, and cartilage is used to treat burns. Sharks are often still hunted for their skin which is used for many things. For example, polished shark skin is used for purses, shoes, and to cover books and science tools.
Shark skin was also used unpolished and with the denticles still on them, this is called Shagreen, which was used for non-stick grips and sword hilts. Also, shark teeth are often found and used to make jewelry such as necklaces. Although these things are good for humans, they are very bad for sharks because, they are becoming endangered. It’s bad because, if sharks went extinct, we would have a lot of big fish and seals to worry about because, they would be eating penguins and other birds that dwell near water and they might even eventually become a danger for humans.
Sadly, the goblin shark is probably one of the sharks that gets caught and eaten. This would be an odd sight too. Why? Well, the goblin shark has very flabby skin that is bubble gum pink with a blue tint on their fins. When they die, they turn from that pink color to brown. They are generally about three to ten feet long but can grow up to thirteen feet long. They have an elongated snout which protrudes out of its forehead. It also has a long tail which looks similar to a frilled shark’s tail.
The goblin sharks jaw can extend out of their skull to the full length of their snout. Because of this, the prey rarely gets away, another advantage that the goblin shark has on its prey is how its teeth are shaped. The teeth are long, dagger like, and smooth edged like, those of a Sandtiger shark. But the goblin sharks back teeth are flattened for crushing things like shells. The teeth are probably like this because they feed on fish, cephalopods, and crustaceans such as crabs. They most likely feed on all these different things because of their habitat.
They are scattered around the world and are found in the eastern and western Atlantic, specifically near French Guiana, the Bay of Biscay, Madeira, Portugal, and South Africa. In the western Indian ocean near South Africa, and in the western Pacific, near Japan and Australia. They live about 40-280 meters below sea level which is near the bottom of the mesopelagic region of the ocean. They are at this depth because; they like to be near the outer shelf and upper slope area of the ocean. Most species of sharks like to be near, if not in, coral reefs like the Sandtiger shark.
While others like to be in really deep water, like the Goblin shark. Even though they like different depths of the ocean the Goblin and Sandtiger shark are very similar and from the same family, but the Goblin shark evolved before the Sandtiger shark. Despite how much we know about sharks, and how many species we have found, we actually know very little. We have actually only discovered about 400 species, most of which we know very little about. For example, we are still trying to understand and learn more about the great white sharks and they are one of the most well known species.
We are still trying to learn more about them because; there is a time in the year when they disappear for a short while. Scientists have guessed that it’s when they retreat to their breeding grounds. Humans even know a lot less about the goblin shark than the great white shark which means we have a lot to learn. Especially since there are also a lot of different species of other sea life we haven’t discovered and we might not for a long while because we are unable to get to the bottom of the deepest trenches and have enough time to thoroughly search them.
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