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Posted by on May 12, 2020 in TellMeWhy |

How Many Bones Do Sharks Have?

How Many Bones Do Sharks Have?

How Many Bones Do Sharks Have? The answer is zero. Did you know they have a skeleton made entirely of cartilage rather than bone as in other fishes.

A shark’s skeleton is made of cartilage and connective tissue. Furthermore, a shark’s scary teeth are made out of hard enamel. Which means sharks have no bones! Interesting to note that sharks replace their teeth throughout their lives.

Sharks make some bone material for their fin spines but for the most part, they are made up of cartilage, comprised of cells called chondrocytes, which create the cartilaginous material in our bodies that is rich in protein and elastin fibers.

Humans have cartilage in ears, joints, ribs, and in airways. It is extremely resilient and has elastic properties, making it strong and flexible. Cartilage is not as flexible as our muscles are, and it isn’t as rigid as our bones, yet it is crucial in human anatomy.

So, what is the purpose of a shark having cartilage instead of bone? Sharks are heavy animals and can weigh as much as almost 8,000 pounds. What is pretty interesting is that if a shark were to become beached it will end up suffocating because it has no ribs.

So it essentially suffocates on its own body weight. Because they are so heavy the cartilage actually reduces weight and allows them to have more energy to get around and move more efficiently. Cartilage is also very flexible allowing the shark a little bit more flexibility.

Content for this question contributed by Carol Cicero, resident of Slingerlands, Albany County, New York, USA