Sharks: The Underwater Kings

Hammerheads

2015-01-24 09.44.31

Ever since I could think, I was always fascinated by old things, and things that have been old and are still here. By that I mean creatures that have been able to withstand the test of time and are still present in today’s world. Sharks are categorized into this group of long standing creatures, because they have been the ones that survive for millions of years. What really surprises me is that sharks have not been able to form complex intelligence systems, but have created different variants to the shark family. I don’t want to talk about evolution, I just want to explain hammerheads, and how their body works.

Hammerhead sharks are not very hard to distinguish from other sharks. They are easily the most recognizable shark in the ocean blue due to their very, peculiar head. Allow me to tell you that no the “hammer” shape of the shark’s head is not used to fight other sharks, although that would be epic. But they are more used in the line on sensory. The hammer-like shape of the shark’s head is due to the fact that sharks are carnivores, which means that they eat other fish. This means fish are food, not friends. Most other sharks have an acute sense of smell, such as the Great White Shark which can sense prey from two miles away underwater. But the hammerhead relies on another method of finding prey. The hammerhead is said to use it’s large hammer head to sweep back and forth like a mine sweeper on an infantry platoon. On the shark’s “hammer” are many electroreceptor sensory pores, which are on most sharks to help locate and pinpoint prey. By having this large hammer lined with these receptors, the shark is able to sweep a wider area of hunting grounds for prey. The hammer is also thought to be used for maneuverability underwater to help make sharp turns and cuts to catch prey. Almost like a front splitter on a muscle car to hit drifts faster. Although this was disproven due to the shark’s vertebrae which is more helpful in making turns, this idea still stands as a possible secondary function of the hammer. Another function of the hammer is that it gives the shark better vision as the eyes of the shark are positioned on the ends of the hammer so the protrude outwards and give the shark 360 degree vision.

2015-01-24 10.30.29

Most sharks have electroreceptors in their nostrils and have large mouths with rows of teeth.

Hammerheads have their mouths positioned on the bottom of their head like a stingray, and ironically, their mortal enemies are the stingrays. Their hammer may also be used to feed as the shark uses its head to hold down its prey as it feasts, particularly only with stingrays. The stingray is a hammerhead delicacy as they are naturally on the bottom of the ocean, so its easier for the shark to be on top with its bottom facing mouth, and they are easier to stalk. And of all sharks, only the teeth are able to be fossilized and preserved as sharks generally don’t have any bones. Don’t fear these sharks, humans are not on their menu, but be warned, being in the water with these sharks are dangerous, as they are known to retaliate when provoked or attack out of fear. They have not killed anyone, yet. Hammerheads reproduce normally like most creatures, a male will bite a female, and they will have children. Shark babies are called pups, and are born in litters of 12-16, but Great Hammerheads have up to sixty! In the day, Hammerhead sharks live in schools, or groups, and during the night they split up and become nocturnal assassins. These sharks naturally live in schools since they were born as sharks do not care or nurse their young when they are born. When they are born, they live in warm shallow reefs or coasts until they are big enough to be a shark. Usually when sharks are born, the mother nurses them to swim and they go their separate ways, but Great Hammerheads go so far as to eat their own young! Cannibalism is not surprising to hammerheads, but it happens.

Sharks are also important to Hawaiian culture as they are seen as gods to these people. The hammerhead especially because the hammerhead and other sharks are family gods, or aumakua, protectors of humans and the sea, which are the gods that watch over Hawaiian families in their  belief. The people worship these sharks and see their passing as a sign of blessing and a good omen. There are also niuhi, or man-eaters. These sharks are not worshipped and are seen as demons of the see. The chiefs in Hawaiian culture hunt these niuhi as sport to prove their leadership and bravery. The hammerhead is known as the most respective shark to Hawaiians, and is known as mano kihikihi. The hammerhead is a very important animal to the oceans and to people’s culture.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s