Basking Shark Essay Research Paper Among the

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Basking Shark Essay, Research Paper Among the masters of the sea, lies a sluggish monster. Cetorhinus maximus is just that, although more generally known as the Basking shark. This interesting animal has some unusual characteristics which include its physical, behavioral, reproductive, and feeding attributes. Other details about the Basking shark, consist of its habitat, distribution among the waters, ecological relationships, and research being done on this gentle shark. Basking sharks have been known to range from between twenty to fifty feet long, but are more commonly closer to thirty feet (Allen, 1996, 158). The smallest recorded Basking shark was sixty-five inches long, which is the estimated size of one at birth. There have been no significant differences found to

exist in the *age*-length relationships of C. maximus populations World-Wide. Although all Basking sharks are large, the females tend to be quite a bit bigger than the males, which is probably because they have to carry a whole other organism within (Harman, 1996, 21). Basking sharks have, at some point in time, also been known as the elephant shark, the Bone shark, sailfish shark, and sunfish. The reason this shark is occasionally referred to as the Bone shark, is because when they die, they sink (their density is greater then the water’s density) and are ravaged among the sea floor, by rocks, etc. (Steel, 1985, 132). However, when they do finally wash up on shore they are usually quite mutilated; their skeletons are all that remain. Hence the name, Bone shark. Although the

Basking shark most appropriately resembles the Whale shark, its closest relative happens to be the * I could not find, in any of my many sources, the life span of the Basking shark* great white shark (http://www.askjeeves.com/MetaAnswer.asp?MetaEngine =Lycos&logQID=8F7C6F5E10E0D2119B5300104B2AFFF7&qCategory=SCI_&q Source=0&frames=yes&site_name=Jeeves&scope=web&r=x&MetaTopic=The+B asking+Shark+Project&MetaURL=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.isleofman.com%2Finte rests%2Fshark%2Findex.htm&EngineOrdinal=3&ItemOrdinal=1&ask=basking+s hark+metasearch&MetaList=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.isleofman.com%2Finterests %2Fshark%2Findex.htm&ask.x=22&ask.y=1). When alive and healthy, Basking sharks are grayish brown, and even black on the top half of their body

and a much paler version of those colors on the bottom. They have a thick covering of spiky denticles along their whole body (Allen, 1996, 273). Their enormous amount of denticles, make their skin stronger than cowhide (Allens, 1996, 160). To give an idea of the size of the Basking shark, picture this scene in your mind: you and your family are out sailing. A “small” six ton Basking shark jumps out of the water next to your boat. As it crashes against the water in its downfall; the rise of the wave that is caused is as tall as a three story building, possibly even larger (Allen, 1996, 273). Hopefully that gives you at least a small idea of how massive these sharks are. However, in case that wasn’t convincing enough, here are some measurements taken off of a mere twenty-nine

foot Basking shark: head: 1 ton; liver: 1850 lbs; fins:1 ton; tail: half a ton; skin: 1 ton; meat and back: 3000 tons; guts: half a ton; stomach and intestines: half a ton to 1 ton; the total of that whole shark is almost seven tons (Allen, 1996, 271-272)! If you think those numbers are amazing, listen to these tasty facts: Basking sharks have a hundred or more teeth, to a row, and row upon row upon row of tiny, practically useless teeth (Blassingame, 1984, 90). Their mouth is so big that a child can walk into it without even bending down (Harman, 1996, 22)! The swimming patterns of Basking sharks greatly reflect their behavior among one another. They have been known to swim in a line, one behind each other, and also to swim round and round in circles, giving the impression of a