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The Coolest Sharks of All Time

By Becky Ferreira Aug 8, 2013

16 of 16

Great White Shark

There is something elemental about the great white shark. This slideshow demonstrates the remarkable diversity of the shark family, yet the great white is still what most of us think of when we hear the word "shark."

These bad boys have certainly earned their reputation. They are the last surviving members of the great shark genus Charcarodon, which includes their sister species, the Megalodon. Their signature ambush attack, in which they drive their prey to breach, is hands-down one of the most awe-inspiring spectacles on the planet. They grow to be 20-feet-long, the biggest of the macro-predatory sharks, and they attack people more than any other shark species. Mostly, they "sample bite" humans before discarding them  contrary to popular legend, great whites think we taste kind of gross. Even so, their bite packs a punch of 18,000 Newtons, so these cheeky samplings are often deadly whether or not the great white follows up. Their combined majesty, grace, and deadly effectiveness commands respect wherever they go (which, in case you're wondering, is practically everywhere).

There are about 400 species of extant shark prowling the oceans, all with their own unique permutations on the same body plan. We weren't able to fit angel sharks, wobbegongs, requiems, tigers, frills, and many other awesome species into this list, even though we love those guys to death. What other species do you think should have made the cut?

Tags: animals, science, slideshows, sharks, shark week

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About the Author
Becky Ferreira

Becky Ferreira is a writer, performer, and raptor based in New York.

Wanna contact a writer or editor? Email contribute@sparknotes.com.