Some of the largest fish in the world are consideredwhale sharks (Rhincodon typus). Their body length is on average 5.5 meters, but sometimes people had to see even 14-meter individuals weighing more than 20 tons. You might think that they are real sea monsters, but actually in oceans there are more dangerous creatures. The study of whale sharks has been going on for many decades and scientists are constantly learning something new about them. For example, it recently became clear that these creatures are able to draw their eyes into the body to protect them from mechanical damage - this is a very useful skill, because sharks do not have eyelids. Japanese scientists also found that there are tiny teeth on the eyeballs of whale sharks. It sounds like a description of a horror monster, but it really is.
World Ocean Is a continuous water shell of the Earth, whichsurrounds continents and islands. It occupies 71% of the total area of our planet. You can read about the most dangerous inhabitants of the oceans here, but let's first deal with the "toothy" eyes of whale sharks!
Whale shark eye protection
About the suddenly discovered features of whale sharkswas written in the scientific journal Plos One. The discovery was made while observing whale sharks in aquariums and during the study of their dead bodies. It turned out that from time to time these creatures are able to draw their eyes deep into the eye sockets. And upon a more thorough examination, it turned out that each of the eyeballs is protected from external influences by three thousand small cloves.
Scientists are sure that the "cloves" went to sharks fromtheir distant ancestors. Millions of years ago, the bodies of creatures living in the seas and oceans were also covered with such processes. At least this is evidenced by the remains discovered by paleontologists. In ancient times, strong skin was used by sea monsters as armor and protected from serious injuries during battles with other predators.
See also: The remains of previously unknown species of sharks are found.
From what kind of damage the eyes can protecttiny teeth, the researchers still do not know for sure. Perhaps they somehow help protect against injuries that other inhabitants of the seas and oceans can cause. It may also be that the cloves prevent eye damage from the strong pressure of the oncoming water. The fact is that adult individuals can non-stop swim for several days at a speed of up to 5 kilometers per hour, simultaneously eating tiny aquatic inhabitants. At this speed, water can really harm the eyes, so the processes can repel particles from the eyeballs, thereby protecting them.
See also: What animals are dangerous sharks afraid of?
And it's great that whale sharks are capable ofprotect your health. And all because at the moment they are already on the verge of extinction. Scientists do not have accurate information about the number of these sharks in the modern world, but it is known that many years ago they were not very numerous. If you believe unofficial data, then whale sharks to date, there are only about one thousand individuals.
These sharks are in danger becauseThey are considered relatively harmless to humans and are massively caught. They are of particular interest to residents of India, where there is an increase in population, and at the same time, a growing need for protein food. And whale sharks, in view of their large size, have practically no natural enemies. Scientists have only several times noticed signs of attacks by killer whales and blue sharks, but in general, fish with "toothy" eyes feel calm in the water.
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It may seem awesome, but somespecies of sharks are still not discovered by scientists and practically not studied. At the beginning of 2020, I talked about the discovery of sharks of four new species in the tropical waters between Australia and New Guinea. About how dangerous they are for humans, you can read in this material.