There are many people in this world that do not know if sharks are mammals or not. You should definitely know the answer and why that answer is true. I think knowing exactly why is so much better than just knowing the answer. Why? Because it will make you look smarter and you will know the answers to other questions. So, let’s dig into the question, “are sharks mammals?”
Mammals vs. Sharks
- Mammals are warm-blooded, which means that they regulate their body temperature by metabolism such as burning calories to create heat. Also, when the body temperature gets too cold, they have warming mechanisms such as shivering. In contrast, sharks are cold blooded, which means that their body temperature is regulated by the surrounding environment. So, if they are at warm waters, their body temperature will be warm. If they are in cold temperature, their body temperature will be cold.
- Mammals have a skeletal structure that consists of bones, but sharks have a skeletal structure that is cartilage. Bone is stronger than cartilage, but cartilage is more flexible. Also, cartilage is lighter than bone. So, they both have pros and cons.
- Mammals have 4 chambered heart, which means that their heart is divided into four sections. These sections coordinate with each other to pump blood. However, sharks have only 2 chambered heart.
- Mammals’ teeth are only replaced once. You had the experience of your teeth falling off when you are young. Then, your adult teeth replaced the spot. That happens because humans are mammals. However, sharks shed their teeth continuously. Some have estimated that sharks can have over 40,000 teeth in their lifetime.
- The primary source for mammals’ breathing is through their lungs. Sharks, however, breathe through their gills.
- Mammals have hair on their skin, but sharks have scales. These scales help them be more streamlined, which helps them to swim.
- Mammals feed their young with milk, but sharks don’t have mammary glands, so they cannot produce milk.
So are sharks considered mammals?
What do you think based on the compare and contrast above? The answer is definitely no! Sharks are not mammals because they do not have characteristics of mammals. They do not have fur, mammary gland, lungs, 4 chambered heart, etc. Because of those differences, sharks are not considered to be mammals!
I hope that you have enjoyed reading about the differences between a shark and a mammal. If you want to be smarter than an average person, you should definitely read some of the questions and answers in Q & A page.