Shark Family – One Big, Happy, Carnivorous Family

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The earliest sharks date from more than 420 million years ago, before the time of the dinosaurs! The 400 species of modern sharks have evolved in various ways and scientists have classified them into the 8 major groups shown in this graphic. See how sharks fit into this family tree, from the most well-known sharks like the great white and tiger sharks, to the bizarre lesser-known sharks like the frilled shark, goblin shark and cookiecutter shark.


See our entire series of Shark Week posts:

  • Shark Speed
  • Shark Weight
  • Shark Bites
  • Flying Sharks
  • Shark Family

Flying Sharks – The Highest Leaping Sharks

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Most sharks are content to be bottom dwellers. They scavenge the bottom for food at a slow methodical pace. A few predatory sharks have stronger tails that thrust them forward at great speeds to catch their prey. Periodically these sharks breach the surface in a burst of speed.


A writer from National Geographic describes what it’s like to see a flying shark:

The highest I have ever seen a white shark jump out of the water is about eight to ten feet [two and a half to three meters] clear of the water. Occasionally you will be looking vacantly out across the ocean and one of the sharks of Seal Island will suddenly take to the air, leaving you and your guests speechless as to how such a huge animal can jump so high.

We have on many occasions also seen makos go a lot higher than white sharks, and it is an amazing sight to see a cartwheeling mako in action. Many other species of sharks jump on a regular basis, such as threshers, copper sharks, spinner sharks, and salmon sharks. A breach usually lasts less than one second, so if you are looking in the wrong place, all you get to see is a big splash and a lot of hollering from those who did see it.

Check out a few videos of these sharks in action:

Mako Shark

Great White

Thresher Shark

Spinner Shark


See our entire series of Shark Week posts:

  • Shark Speed
  • Shark Weight
  • Shark Bites
  • Flying Sharks
  • Shark Family

Shark Bites – The World’s Deadliest Sharks

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Part of the reason the Discovery channel runs shark week every year is that sharks are largely misunderstood creatures. True, they’re also scary looking efficient killing machines, but they are not as deadly as you might think. Only 15% of attacks result in fatalities and they are only the 10th most dangerous animal (as far as fatalities per year) in the U.S. So which sharks are the most dangerous? Check it out in this third infographic in our shark week series.


See our entire series of Shark Week posts:

  • Shark Speed
  • Shark Weight
  • Shark Bites
  • Flying Sharks
  • Shark Family

Shark Weight – The Most Massive Sharks

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It may surprise you just how massive some sharks are. The largest shark, the whale shark is 2 feet longer than a typical school bus and weighs more than twice as much! (The average 38′ 84 passenger school bus weighs between 22,000-28,000 lbs). Luckily for us and most of the sea creatures out there, the two largest sharks alive today feed mostly on plankton. That makes the Great White the largest predator shark. On the other end of the scale the Dwarf Lanternshark is currently the smallest known shark, reaching only 8.3 inches (21.2cm) in length.


See our entire series of Shark Week posts:

  • Shark Speed
  • Shark Weight
  • Shark Bites
  • Flying Sharks
  • Shark Family

Animals Vs Olympians – Fastest Runner

cheetah worlds fastest runner

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The cheetah is known as the world’s fastest animal, able to accelerate from 0-60 MPH in less than 3 seconds. The fastest cheetah was timed to run approximately 200 meters in 7 seconds, equivalent to 29 meters per second or 64 miles per hour. How fast can humans run compared to a cheetah? Usain Bolt holds the world records for the fastest 100 meter and 200 meter race times. Bolt ran the 100 meter race in 9.58 seconds, and the 200 meter race in 19.19 seconds, significantly slower than the cheetah at 23 mph.

Rank

Animal

speed
(mph)

speed
(km/hr)

1. Cheetah 70 113
2. Pronghorn antelope 61 98
3. Lion 50 80
4. Thomson’s gazelle 50 80
5. Wildebeest 50 80
6. Springbok 50 80
7. Quarter horse 47.5 76
8. Cape hunting dog 45 72
9. Elk 45 72
10. Coyote 43 69

Below are the world records for the top running events:

Fastest 100 m Country Time Date
Usain Bolt Jamaica 9.58 16 August 2009
Tyson Gay USA 9.69 20 September 2009
Fastest 200 m
Usain Bolt Jamaica 19.19 20 August 2009
Yohan Blake Jamaica 19.26 16 September 2011
Fastest 400 m
Michael Johnson USA 43.18 26 August 1988
Harry Reynolds USA 43.29 17 August 1988

See our other posts in the Animals Vs Olympians Series

  • Fastest Swimmer
  • Strongest Lifter
  • Highest Jumper

Animals Vs Olympians – Longest Jumper

worlds longest jumper

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Animals Vs. Olympians - Longest Jumper

Snow leopards are able to jump 50 feet horizontally, as well as 20 feet vertically. Snow leopards can jump higher than kangaroos, but cannot sustain long jumps for long distances. Snow leopards live in the mountain regions of central Asia, and their bodies have adapted to living in steep rocky slopes. The long jump is a popular track and field event that was celebrated in the Ancient Olympic Games, and the event has been held in every modern Olympics since 1896. The world record for long jump distance is 8.95 meters, held by USA athlete Mike Powell. He made history in 1991 by breaking the long-time record held by Bob Beamon since 1968.

Name Country Distance Date
Mike Powell USA 8.95 m 30 August 1991
Bob Beamon USA 8.90 m 18 Oct 1968
Carl Lewis USA 8.87 m 30 Aug 1991
Robert Emmiyan Soviet Union 8.86 m 22 May 1987

See our other posts in the Animals Vs Olympians Series

  • Fastest Swimmer
  • Strongest Lifter
  • Highest Jumper
  • Fastest Runner

Animals Vs Olympians – Who Lifts More?

world's strongest lifter

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The African Elephant is capable of lifting more weight than any other animal. Elephants lift in two different ways – by lifting with their trunk or biting and lifting. The trunk-lift method allows the elephant to lift 300 kg (659 pounds), and bite and lift method can do 500 kg (1102 pounds). The human weightlifting record is held by Hossein Rezazadeh of Iran, who broke the record by lifting 263 kg (579.8) pounds by the “clean and jerk” method in the 2004 Olympic games in Athens.

See our other posts in the Animals Vs Olympians Series

  • Fastest Swimmer
  • Highest Jumper
  • Fastest Runner

Animals Vs Olympians – Fastest Swimmer

worlds fastest swimmer

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Animals Vs Olympians - Fastest Swimmer

The Indo-Pacific sailfish is the fastest fish in the ocean, reaching speeds of 68 miles per hour. Its body was built for speed, and the sailfish will fold its fins close to its body so that it can swim more smoothly through the water. The tuna fish is the speed champion for long distances, averaging 45 miles per hour. The fastest speed that a human swimmer can reach is about 5 miles per hour. American swimmer Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time with 22 medals, currently holds seven world records for speed. His record time of 49.82 seconds in the 100-meter butterfly is the equivalent of 4.49 miles per hour. The 50-meter freestyle record held by Cesar Cielo of Brazil of 46.91 seconds is the equivalent of 5.3 mph.

Event Name Country Time Date
100 m freestyle Cesar Cielo Brazil 46:91 30 July 2009
200 m freestyle Paul Bidermann Germany 1:42:00 28 Jul 2009
100 m backstroke Aaron Peirsol USA 51:94 8 July 2009
200 m backstroke Aaron Peirsol USA 1:51:92 31 July 2009
100 m breaststroke Cameron van der Burgh South Africa 58:46 29 Jul 2012
200 m breaststroke Daniel Gyurta Hungary 2:07:28 1 August 2012
100 m butterfly Michael Phelps USA 49:82 1 August 2009
200 m butterfly Michael Phelps USA 1:51:51 29 July 2009

See our other posts in the Animals Vs Olympians Series

  • Strongest Lifter
  • Highest Jumper
  • Fastest Runner

Animals Vs Olympians – Highest Jumper

worlds highest jumper

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Animals Vs Olympians - Highest JumperMountain lions can jump an impressive 19 feet high. Mountain lions have hind legs that are larger and more muscular than their front legs, which give them great jumping power. They also have a flexible spine like a cheetah, allowing them to maneuver around obstacles and change direction quickly. Javier Sotomayor of Cuba holds the world record for the high jump. His record of 2.45 meters has held since 1993.


Historical High Jump Records

Name Country Height Date
Javier Sotomayor Cuba 2.45 m 27 July 1993
Patrik Sjolberg Sweden 2.42 m 30 June 1987
Igor Paklin Soviet Union 2.41 m 4 Sept 1985

See our other posts in the Animals Vs Olympians Series

  • Fastest Swimmer
  • Strongest Lifter
  • Fastest Runner

Shark Speed – The World’s Fastest Sharks

Yesterday marked the beginning of the Discovery Channel’s 25th season of Shark Week, an all out learning and entertainment fest centered on one of the least understood and most highly feared animals on our planet – the shark.

Here at Zoology Degree Online we love learning about all animals, but sharks are particularly fascinating.

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See our entire series of Shark Week posts:

  • Shark Speed
  • Shark Weight
  • Shark Bites
  • Flying Sharks
  • Shark Family