Sharks and Dolphins by Kevin KurtzSharks and dolphins both have torpedo-shaped bodies with fins on their backs. They slice through the water to grab their prey with sharp teeth. But despite their similarities, sharks and dolphins belong to different animal classes: one is a fish and gets oxygen from the water and the other is a mammal and gets oxygen from the air. Marine educator Kevin Kurtz guides early readers to compare and contrast these ocean predators through stunning photographs and simple, nonfiction text.
If Dolphins Are Swimming Nearby, Does That Mean Sharks Aren't?
Nothing incites panic in the ocean like an ominous shark fin cutting through the water in the direction of swimmers. Yet, sometimes the alleged shark is nothing more than a playful or curious dolphin. Although shark and dolphin fins share some characteristics, a closer look reveals which type of animal actually is swimming nearby. It has a definite arc, with a sharply curved tip. The front edge of a shark fin is angled backward, while the rear edge is straight. This generally is the easiest way to identify the animal at a glance.
The following tree shows the relationship between various groups, including cartilaginous fishes sharks and mammals dolphins. They are not very closely related to one another. So how did they end up looking so much alike? You have probably noticed that dolphins and sharks both have a streamlined body shape with a triangular fin on the back and two side fins. However, the two animals also have many differences. What's the advantage? If two species face a similar problem, challenge or opportunity, evolution may end up shaping them both in similar ways.
So what are the similarities and differences between sharks and dolphins? The first difference between sharks and dolphins is the type of animal they are — sharks are fish while dolphins are mammals like us.
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It's a common piece of surfing wisdom that where dolphins swim, there are never sharks. But for ocean-goers who take comfort in a pod of dolphins swimming by, shark experts have bad news. And this myth couldn't be farther from the truth, Stephen Kajiura, a shark expert at Florida Atlantic University, said. That's because sharks and dolphins — both of whom are carnivores — go to the same spots to hunt. The myth stems from the false notion that dolphins are the natural enemies of sharks, and that sharks will do anything to avoid them. There's a kernel of truth in there.