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SHARK WEEK is here for its 33rd summer of big sharks and even bigger bites. Starting July 11 and continuing through July 18th you can see more hours of shark programming than ever before on Discovery and Discovery+.

Sharks have played a vital role in maintaining healthy oceans for hundreds of millions of years as a top predator. More than 450 species of sharks cruise the world’s oceans, ranging in size from 8 inches to a whopping 40 feet long. But today, nearly one in four sharks and their relatives are threatened with extinction. A major cause is the demand for shark fins. Every year, fins from as many as 73 million sharks end up in the global fin trade.

Here are a few Shark Facts That May Surprise You:

Sharks do not have bones. They are a special type of fish known as "elasmobranchs", which translates into fish made of cartilaginous tissues.

Shark skin feels similar to sandpaper. Shark skin feels exactly like sandpaper because it is made up of tiny teeth-like structures called placoid scales, also known as dermal denticles.

Most sharks have good eyesight. Most sharks can see well in dark lighted areas, have fantastic night vision, and can see colors.

Scientists age sharks by counting the rings on their vertebrae. Vertebrae contain concentric pairs of opaque and translucent bands. Band pairs are counted like rings on a tree and then scientists assign an age to the shark based on the count.

Each whale shark’s spot pattern is unique as a fingerprint. Whale sharks are the biggest fish in the ocean. They can grow to 12.2 meters and weigh as much as 40 tons by some estimates!

Sharks can go into a trance. When you flip a shark upside down they go into a trance like state called tonic immobility.

Sharks have been around a very long time. Based on fossil scales found in Australia and the United States, scientists hypothesize sharks first appeared in the ocean around 455 million years ago.

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