What on Earth? Mystery Hunter

Can you guess what is pictured in this edition of What on Earth? 

Click and find out!

Answer: Shark skin!

Sharks have rough-textured skin that is made up of tiny, teeth-like placoid scales. These scales are also known as dermal denticles (which roughly translates to “skin teeth”). The scales point towards the tail in order to reduce friction with the water as the shark swims. This feature has encouraged swimsuit makers to try to emulate these scales on their suits in order to allow human athletes to swim faster.

At SKELETONS: Museum of Osteology, most of our collection consists of skeletons made of bone. Shark skeletons, in contrast, are cartilaginous fish, meaning that they are made of cartilage instead of bone. Cartilage is about half the density of bone, making the shark’s skeleton light and flexible - which is great for swimming!

The shark has many adaptations that allow them to swim quickly and hunt efficiently. To learn more about animal adaptations, visit our location in Oklahoma City or Orlando, or schedule an Education Program for your class or organization!


Photo source: ocean.si.edu