Science

5 Most Common Shark Myths: BUSTED

Illustrations by JoAnna Wendel

Myth: Sharks bite humans because they want to eat humans.

Fact: Sharks may investigate a human swimming in the water. They may bite out of curiosity, but not because they're trying to get a meal.

Myth: All sharks, like this Great White Shark, can only keep "breathing" if they swim constantly, soaking their gills in oxygenated water.

Fact: Some sharks, like this Nurse shark, can open their mouths and suck water over their gills, in a process called "buccal pumping," so they don't need to constantly be in motion.

Myth: Women shouldn't swim while on their period because a shark will be attracted to the scent of blood.

Fact: The amount of blood produced by menstruation is too low to be detectable by sharks against the background of all the other smells in the ocean. So no, your period will not attract sharks.

Mtyh: All sharks are huge, like this 15-foot-long Great White Shark.

Fact: Sharks come in a variety of sizes, from the 6-foot-long Black Tipped Reef shark to the 6-inch-long Dwarf Lantern Shark.

Myth: The prehistoric, 50-foot-long megalodon still lives, lurking underneath the waves, waiting for unsuspecting snorklers.

Fact: The prehistoric, 50-foot-long megalodon is extinct.

FACT: Sharks are more in danger from human activity than humans are in danger of sharks attacks.

In recognition of

the 45th anniversary

of the release of Jaws, Inverse is sharing weird-but-true stories about sharks.

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