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White shark
Lenny from DreamWorks' animated feature Shark Tale
White shark game character (sketch), art by Bob M. Guthrie.

Sharks, also known as selachimorphs, are a group of elasmobranch fish characterized by a cartilaginous skeleton, five to seven gill slits on the sides of the head, and pectoral fins that are not fused to the head.

General overview[edit]

Modern sharks are classified within the clade Selachimorpha (or Selachii) and are the sister group to the rays. However, the term "shark" has also been (incorrectly) used to refer to extinct members of the subclass Elasmobranchii, which are technically outside the Selachimorpha clade. Notable examples of improper classification include Cladoselache, Xenacanthus, and various other members of the Chondrichthyes class like the holocephalid eugenedontidans.

Sharks are swift, strong, silent, and very well adapted to their lifestyle, remaining unchanged since the time of the dinosaurs. Shamanism attributes the shark with many fine qualities, including remorselessness and shapeshifting. They take the role of protector and savior. Sharks are gods of the sea and guardians of family, with the ability to move constantly, a connection to past knowledge, the ability to defend themselves, and to never be caught off guard.

Several shark species are apex predators, which are organisms that are at the top of their food chain.

Kamohoali'i was the king shark god of Oahu and the elder brother of Pele. Each island of Hawaii has its own shark god, and many families have personal shark guardians or Aumakuas

Most known/common shark species[edit]

  • Great hammerhead shark (Sphyrna mokarran) - The Great hammerhead shark is found in all tropical waters, in both the open ocean and coastal areas. Normally 12 to 18 feet in length, these sharks are easily recognized by their strange, 'hammer' shaped heads. These are used as an advanced electroreceptory organ and for rapid turns. Hammerhead's usual hunting behavior is slide just above the seabed and detects living prey underneath much like a metal detector. Modern research suggests that the 'hammer' may have been a spontaneous mutation, since the basal species has the largest hammer of all.
Unlike other species of Hammerhead, the Great Hammerhead is solitary and dangerous to humans. They feed on rays, smaller sharks, and many species of bony fish.
Great Hammerhead Shark is one of the three hammerhead shark species suggested for Rokea characters (weresharks of World of Darkness RPG). They get a bonus on sight-based rolls and Social rolls with other Rokea (the system grants this bonus to all hammerhead species).
  • Whale shark -
  • Great white shark - The Great white shark or white pointer is one of the most popular/famous species of sharks, likely due to its decently high number of recorded biting incidents (As of 2012, 272 in total) and its usage in the previously mentioned Jaws series. It is found in many bodies of water near the equator, but it can still be found in more northern and southern waters as well. Its famed predatorial behavior makes it a popular candidate for anthropomorphization.
While the great white shark is by far the most famous lamniform/mackerel shark, it is not the only one present in furry communities. The goblin shark (Mitsukurina owstoni) is notable for its almost horn-like elongated snout and its extensible jaws, possibly making it a stand-out character from other kinds of sharks, anthropomorphic or not. The shortfin and longfin mako sharks (Isurus oxyrinchus and paucus respectively), or blue pointers, are rather similar to the great white in body shape, but show a more vivid blue in their coloration.
  • Mako shark -
  • Thresher shark -
  • Tiger shark -
  • Megalodon -

Sharks in mainstream media[edit]

See also[edit]

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