Q:

Is a shark a mammal?

A:

Quick Answer

A shark is not considered a mammal. Sharks are considered members of the paraphyletic group of organisms that contain gills, or in other words, fish.

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Is a shark a mammal?
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Full Answer

Sharks lack some of the defining traits of mammals. Although some sharks do give birth to live young, they are not cared for and fed like mammals. Sharks don't possess mammary glands, nor do they have bones. Their skeletons are made completely out of cartilage. Sharks also replace their teeth constantly, as opposed to mammals, which either replace their teeth once or not at all. Finally, sharks have the ability to breathe underwater, whereas mammals, even whales and dolphins, must breathe air.

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Related Questions

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    What is a female shark called?

    A:

    Sharks do not have a specific name for the different sexes. Baby sharks are called pups

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  • Q:

    How does a shark protect itself?

    A:

    The 400 living species of sharks defend themselves in a variety of ways that vary from species to species. Large species, such as great whites, basking sharks and whale sharks derive protection from their size; they are too big to represent potential prey for any species except humans. Other species, such as carpet sharks, rely on their flattened morphology and cryptic coloration to avoid the detection of predators.

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  • Q:

    How long is a great white shark?

    A:

    An adult great white shark reaches an average of 15 feet in length. However, several great whites exceeding 20 feet and 5,000 pounds have been recorded, making the species the largest predatory fish on the planet.

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  • Q:

    How big is a newborn shark?

    A:

    Newborn shark sizes vary by shark species; for example, a newborn great white is typically about 4 feet long, while blacktip reef shark newborns are considerably smaller, usually more than 20 inches in length. Whale sharks, which are quite large in adulthood, give birth to live pups rather than laying eggs, and these newborn pups are typically about a foot and a half long, or 21 to 25 inches in length. Growth rates subsequent to birth may also vary by species.

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