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A whale shark swims beside a human being in Isla Mujeres, Mexico.(Image credit: Colors and also shapes the underwater world via Getty Images)
Sharks room a varied group that fish that have been prowling our seas for thousands of millions the years. The group has several large, food chain-topping predators native the die out Helicoprion, which had a jaw choose a circular saw, to modern-day an excellent white sharks the accelerate with water prefer a bullet as they hunt down their prey.

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Giant sharks have evolved and also gone extinct transparent Earth"s history and many of behemoths still lurk in the s today 一 though not all space ferocious predators. Here are eight of the best sharks native past and also present.

1. Megamouth shark



Megamouth sharks space rare and also live in deepwater. (Image credit: NOAA)

Megamouth sharks (Megachasma pelagios) room filter feeders and eat large quantities of tiny shrimplike crustaceans and plankton, quite than hunting larger prey. The sharks feed by taking big gulps that seawater and then pushing the water out through their gills, leaving your mouth complete of tasty tiny critters. Megamouth sharks can thrive to around 16 feet (5 meters) long and also weigh 1,650 pounds (750 kilograms), according to the university of Michigan"s animal Diversity internet (ADW).


The types was first discovered off the coast of Hawaii in 1976 as soon as a megamouth shark was struck and also became entangled in the anchor the a marine ship, Live Science previously reported. Megamouth sharks spend their work deep in the ocean however ascend to surface waters in ~ night as they follow your food source. Lock live in all major oceans roughly the world yet their exact circulation remains poorly taken by scientists, follow to the global Union for Conservation that Nature (IUCN).

2. Thresher shark


One look at a common thresher shark (Alopias vulpinus) and also it"s basic to check out where the bulk of the size originates from — your long, sickle-shaped tails do up fifty percent their complete body length, follow to the nationwide Oceanic and also Atmospheric management (NOAA). Thresher sharks swipe their massive tails prefer a whip to stun fish, smacking castle directly and also with the powerful waves created by the swipes, making your prey less complicated to catch, Live Science formerly reported.


The sharks often flourish to 20 feet (6.1 m) long. The biggest thresher shark ever recorded to be 24.9 feet (7.6 m) long, and also the most difficult weighed much more than 750 pounds (340 kg), follow to the Florida Museum of herbal History. Thresher sharks live in tropical and also cold sea waters worldwide and mainly eat small, schooling fish such together herring.

Related: Whodunit solved once "sword" is discovered embedded in thresher shark

3. Greenland shark



Greenland shark swimming with an secluded on black color background. (Image credit: dotted zebra/ AlamyStock Photo)

Greenland sharks (Somniosus microcephalus) space peculiar animals that inhabit deep, cold waters in the Arctic and North Atlantic oceans. S parasites often connect themselves to the eye of Greenland sharks, which have the right to render them partly blind. Yet that doesn"t it seems to be ~ to stroked nerves these sharks much, as they use their various other senses to catch prey, follow to ADW. Greenland sharks eat fish and marine mammals such as seals. They thrive slowly however can with lengths that 24 feet (7.3 m) and weigh as much as 2,645 pounds (1,200 kg), follow to the St. Lawrence Shark Observatory in Canada.

Related: No, scientists haven"t found a 512-year-old Greenland shark

A 2016 research of Greenland shark eye tissue published in the newspaper Science approximated that these sharks don"t even reach sexual maturity till they are about 156 years old, Live Science formerly reported. The study additionally suggested the the preferably lifespan of a Greenland shark is at the very least 272 years, through the oldest shark in the study estimated to have been around 392 year old.

"It"s essential to save in mental there"s some apprehension with this estimate," Julius Nielsen, co-author of the 2016 record previously told Live Science. "But also the lowest part of the age selection — at least 272 years — still renders Greenland sharks the longest-living vertebrate well-known to science."

4. Great white shark



Great white shark at the surface with that mouth open wide. (Image credit: Stephen Frink via Getty Images)

Great white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) are perhaps the best-known predators in the ocean and also the largest living sharks the don"t filter feed. The biggest an excellent white sharks are estimated to grow to 20 feet (6 m) long yet there are unconfirmed reports of this sharks getting to lengths the 23 feet (7 m), follow to the Florida Museum of herbal History. Lock can likewise weigh as much as 7,000 pounds (more 보다 3,000 kg), according to the civilization Wildlife money (WWF).

As juveniles, great white sharks spend most of your time searching fish and other little prey on and also near the seafloor, Live Science previously reported. Once they flourish up, the sharks hunt down maritime mammals such as sea lions and dolphins. Good white sharks have a vast geographic range but room most usual in pleasant waters, such as off the west coastline of the U.S. In the Pacific Ocean, according to the IUCN.

5. Helicoprion



An illustration of two Helicoprions (Image credit: HYPERSPHERE/SCIENCE picture LIBRARY via Getty Images)

There are a handful of extinction sharks that would certainly comfortably meet and surpass the size of modern an excellent white sharks and Greenland sharks, but the Helicoprion is probably the most bizarre example. This ancient ratfish relative is nicknamed the "buzz experienced shark" as it had actually a whorl jaw v a spiral set of teeth. Fossilized Helicoprion jaws, i m sorry resemble spiky ammonites, suggest these sharks may have grown approximately 25 feet (7.7 m) long, making lock the biggest predator on planet when castle lived practically 270 million year ago, Live Science previously reported.

Related: Toothy spiral jaw gave ancient sea predator an edge

6. Basking shark


A basking shark swimming underwater. (Image credit: George Karbus Photography via Getty Images)

Great white sharks might be the biggest predatory shark lively today however they seem practically quaint beside the biggest filter-feeding sharks. Although basking sharks (Cetorhinus maximus) only eat plankton, they deserve to reach as much as 40 feet (12.2 m) in length and also weigh more than 5 loads (4.5 metric tons), follow to the Florida Museum of natural History. These behemoths are most commonly found in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, follow to the IUCN.

Basking sharks are regularly regarded as slow, gentle giants yet they are qualified of rocketing out of the water at speeds of 11 mph (18 km/h) and also jumping 4 feet (1.2 m) in the air to breach, Live Science previously reported. This breaching actions may be offered to connect with various other basking sharks or to rid themselves of parasites.

7. Whale shark


A whale shark swims next to a human being in Isla Mujeres, Mexico (Image credit: Colors and shapes the underwater civilization via Getty Images)

Whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) are the greatest filter-feeding sharks and the biggest fish in the world. Lock usually prosper to in between 18 and 33 feet (5 to 10 m) long and weigh about 21 lots (19 metric tons). However, the biggest whale shark ever recorded to be a chuck 66 feet (20 m) long and also weighed 46 lots (42 metric tons), follow to the Zoological society of London. Whale sharks live in tropical and also warm pleasant oceans approximately the world, except for the Mediterranean Sea.

Whale sharks room categorized together an endangered varieties by the IUCN and also are intimidated with extinction due to fishing, watercraft strikes and other human activity.

8. Megalodon


Two megalodon sharks ~ above the prowl. (Image credit: Herschel Hoffmeyer/Shutterstock)

The undisputed king of predatory sharks is the megalodon (Carcharocles megalodon). Members the this extinct varieties are the largest sharks come have ever before lived and also the biggest fish known to science. The exact size the megalodon is disputed within the scientific community yet they may have been increase to about 60 feet (18 m) long based on teeth fossils, and also perhaps also 80 feet (24 m) long. That"s 3 to four times the size of the biggest great white sharks. Castle may additionally have weighed up to 50 tons (45.4 metric tons), according to the Smithsonian national Museum of natural History.

Related: Megalodon shark mamas had actually human-size cannibal babies

Most megalodon fossils are dated to in between the center Miocene epoch and the Pliocene date (15.9 million come 2.6 million year ago) and also there is no document of lock existing ~ this period. Megalodon have actually been resurrected top top the huge screen, such as in the 2018 science fiction thriller "The Meg," however the genuine megalodons are long gone.

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Patrick pester is a employee writer because that Live Science. His elevator is in wildlife conservation and he has operated with endangered species around the world. Patrick hold a master"s degree in worldwide journalism native Cardiff college in the U.K. And is right now finishing a 2nd master"s degree in biodiversity, evolution and conservation in activity at Middlesex college London.