Sharks are an assorted group of fish that have been lurking in our oceans for hundreds of millions of years. The group comprises several enormous, food chain-topping animal preys from the defunct Helicoprion, whose jaw is like a circular saw, to today's great white sharks that move through water like a bullet as they hunt their prey down.
Giant sharks have developed and gone on extinction throughout the history of the Earth and a lot of behemoths still skulk in the ocean today, although all of them are not ferocious predators. Here are five of the biggest sharks from the past and present.
1. Megamouth Shark
These sharks are filter feeders and they feed on large quantities of little shrimplike crustaceans and plankton, instead of hunting bigger prey. This shark eat by swallowing large amount of seawater and then passing the water out via their gills, leaving their mouth filled with tasty little critters. These sharks can grow to around 5 meters (16 feet) long and weigh 750 kilograms (1,650 pounds), as per the University of Michigan's Animal Diversity Web (ADW).
2. Thresher Shark
Just one glance at a common thresher shark (Alopias vulpinus) and it's simple to notice where its bulky size comes from - their long tails that are shaped like a sickle form half of the total length of their entire body, as per the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Thresher sharks move their massive tails like a whip and they do this to knock fishes unconscious, hitting them directly and with the strong waves the swipes produce, making their prey less difficult to catch, Live Science previously reported.
3. Greenland Shark
Greenland sharks (Somniosus microcephalus) are unusual animals that live in deep, cold waters in North Atlantic oceans and in the Arctic. Ocean parasites usually cling to the eyes of this shark, which can make them partially blind. But this does not bother them a lot, because they make use of their other senses to capture prey, as per ADW.
4. Great White Shark
Great white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) are possibly the well-known predators in the ocean and they are the largest living sharks that don't employ filter feed. The biggest of their kind are estimated to develop to 6 m (20 feet) long but there are unverified reports that these sharks have reached lengths of 23 feet (7 m), as per the Florida Museum of Natural History.
5. Basking Shark
Great white sharks may be the largest predatory shark that ever lived today but they seem almost attractively unusual next to the largest filter-feeding sharks. Although Cetorhinus maximus only feed on plankton, they can get to about 12.2 m (40 feet) in length and weigh over 4.5 metric tons (5 tons), as per the Florida Museum of Natural History.
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