The Shark Skeleton
Have you ever wondered what the inside of a shark looks like? No? Well I have. Interestingly a shark doesn’t actually have bones or a skeleton- per se.
Did you know that, like a tree, you could tell a shark’s age by counting the rings in their bones? And that they aren’t like a normal piece of snoek with thousands of little bones because they do not have true bones like other fish. This is also, why a ray can “flap” like a bird.
A shark is in fact made up of a lighter, flexible cartilage that is more elastic to allow them to bend and swim in a tight circle. Some areas are harder, or more calcified, and softer for different functions such as a soft snout to absorb hard knocks better. This cartilage is believed to have an agent in that may be important to cancer research.
The cranium is one cartilaginous block that covers the brain, olfactory system, and auditory area. Their jaw has a weaker attachment so that is why they are able to “drop their jaw” to munch! So a shark’s jaw is not attached to the cranium. Let’s talk about their best asset. Their teeth!
Different types of sharks have different types of teeth such. Some sharks have serrated edged teeth while others have flattened teeth. I would like to dedicate a whole chapter on their teeth, but my point is a shark’s teeth are not rooted into the jaw but instead the gums.
A shark’s weight is supported by the water so they don’t need to have a rib cage, which is why they live in water. (Gravity would not be their friend, yikes!) So basically, they float! And if a shark were to temporarily fall asleep, they would still be able to swim. Their movement is also co-ordinated through mainly the spinal column and not the brain.
The swimming muscles of shark are directly connected to the shark’s body for their energy-saving mode and easier movement.
Some sharks, like a horn shark, have a dorsal spine connected to their dorsal fins as a protective factor against predators.
So, I imagine a shark feeling like a strong squishy muscled animal – with really big teeth and I find it quite humerus.
By Kylie Samuels