(see 'Conservation'). During the Carboniferous Period (360 to 286 million years ago), shark diversity flourished. The author has worked in conservation and woodland management over many years. Next time you’re at the beach, be sure to keep an eye out for your own piece of geologic history. How Many Continents Are There in the World. . The smallest shark, a dwarf lantern shark, is rarely seen and little-known. Combined, these traits make them slow to replenish their populations when they are fished or otherwise killed at such fast rates. The angel shark pictured above has a skin coloring that provides excellent camouflage. . Unlike bony fishes, which have one gill slit on each side of their bodies, most sharks have five slits on both sides that open individually (and some shark species have six or seven). The very distinctive hammerhead sharks are also ground sharks. Whale sharks, which are Orectolobiformes, are the largest sharks currently in existence. They also sport barbels by their mouths, which work like whiskers to help the sharks find food. Some have pointed teeth for grabbing fish out of the water. Other sharks have very small ones, like the one-centimeter diameter eyes of the brownbanded bamboo shark (Chiloscyllium punctatum). It includes the Squatiniformes, and the Pristorajea, which may also be invalid, but includes the Pristiophoriformes and the Batoidea. Notable species of Heterodontiformes include: Broadnose Sevengills sharks like this guy have—you guessed it!—seven gills. Every year, humans kill an estimated 100 million sharks. These shark species, like the hammerheads (Sphyrnidae), maintain a placental link to the embryo, similar to humans. In addition, some species have a clear membrane (the nictitating membrane), which slides down to protect the eye in dicey situations. Other carpet sharks include the very beautiful Wobbegong, picured above, and popular in large aquariums. The one thing all types of sharks have in common is that they have rows of teeth, and their teeth are constantly replaced. Instead they have a small piece of cartilage on the floor of their mouth called a basihyal that lacks taste buds. They boast long, moustache-like barbels and tend to stay fairly small, reaching about 5 feet long. The tiny shark moves around to help facilitate the water movement and, once the nutrients from the yolk sac are used up, the small shark makes it way out of the case to fend for itself. Sharks detect the electrical fields through small pores on their head that are full of special cells called ampullae of Lorenzini. The basking shark, megamouth shark and whale shark all consume the tiny crustaceans. Sharks belong to the superorder Selachimorpha in the subclass Elasmobranchii in the class Chondrichthyes. Sharks can play a large role in their ecosystems, no matter their size. shark fossils, which isn’t surprising considering sharks have been around for 480 million years.

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