Shark! Killer Tales from the Dangerous Depths

Shark! Killer Tales from the Dangerous Depths

Shark! Killer Tales from the Dangerous Depths

Shark! Killer Tales from the Dangerous Depths

Excerpt

The very word ‘shark’ invokes fear and loathing in the minds of many people. It is perhaps an ancient reaction, a primeval instinct that has enabled humans to survive the dangers of animal predators when life was short and death never far away.

In the ocean, where life had its genesis, sharks have ruled since they first emerged in the late Silurian period, more than 400 million years ago. For the past 70 million years or so, after having evolved into highly efficient killing machines, sharks have changed little. They haven’t needed to. When a species has adapted perfectly to its environment, the evolutionary process slows down, perhaps even stops. The shark is nature’s perfect design for survival in the sea.

Twenty years ago there were around 340 species of sharks worldwide known to science. Today there are about 500 species recognised. Researchers say ‘about’ 500, because they are still counting. No doubt in another 20 years the figure will be much higher. Of that number of species, 182 are found in Australian waters, including the deadly ‘big three’—the great white, the tiger shark and the bull shark.

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