Dunkleosteus is an extinct genus of arthrodire placoderm fish that existed during the Late Devonian period, about 358–382 million years ago. The name Dunkleosteus combines the Greek osteus (οστεος), meaning “bone”, and Dunkle, in honor of David Dunkle of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. It consists of ten species: D. terrelli, D. belgicus, D. denisoni, D. marsaisi, D. magnificus, D. missouriensis, D. newberryi, D. amblyodoratus, and D. raveri; some of which are among the largest placoderms to have ever lived. The largest species, D. terrelli grew up to 6 m (19.7 ft) long and 1 t (1.1 short tons) in weight. Few other placoderms rivaled Dunkleosteus in size. Dunkleosteus could quickly open and close its jaw, like modern day suction feeders, and had a bite force of 6,000 N (612 kgf; 1,349 lbf) at the tip and 7,400 N (755 kgf; 1,664 lbf) at the blade edge. Numerous fossils of the various species have been found in North America, Poland, Belgium, and Morocco.Dunkleosteus was named in 1956 to honour David Dunkle, then curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. The type species D. terrelli was originally described in 1873 as a species of Dinichthys. Dunkleosteus is an arthrodire originally placed in the family Dinichthyidae, which is composed mostly of large, carnivorous fish like Gorgonichthys.
The frilled shark (Chlamydoselachus anguineus) is one of two extant species of shark in the family Chlamydoselachidae, with a wide but patchy distribution in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. This species is found over the outer continental shelf and upper continental slope, generally near the bottom, though there is evidence of substantial upward movements. It has been caught as deep as 1,570 m (5,150 ft), although it is uncommon below 1,200 m (3,900 ft). In Suruga Bay, Japan, it is most common at depths of 50–200 m (160–660 ft). Exhibiting several primitive features, the frilled shark has often been termed a living fossil. It reaches a length of 2 m (6.6 ft) and has a dark brown, eel-like body with the dorsal, pelvic, and anal fins placed far back. Its common name comes from the frilly or fringed appearance of its six pairs of gill slits, with the first pair meeting across the throat.Seldom observed, the frilled shark may capture prey by bending its body and lunging forward like a snake. The long, extremely flexible jaws enable it to swallow prey whole, while its many rows of small, needle-like teeth make it difficult for the prey to escape. It feeds mainly on cephalopods, as well as bony fishes and other sharks. This species is aplacental viviparous: the embryos emerge from their egg capsulesinside the mother’s uterus, where they survive primarily on yolk.
The Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus), also known as the northern sea lion and Steller’s sea lion, is a near-threatened species of sea lions in the northern Pacific. It is the sole member of the genus Eumetopias and the largest of the eared seals (Otariidae) and is also the largest sea lion. Among pinnipeds, it is inferior in size only to the walrus and the two elephant seals. The species is named for the naturalist Georg Wilhelm Steller, who first described them in 1741. The Steller sea lion has attracted considerable attention in recent decades owing to significant, unexplained declines in their numbers over a large portion of their range in Alaska.Adult animals are lighter in colour than most sea lions, ranging from pale yellow to tawny and occasionally reddish. Steller sea lion pups are born almost black, weighing around 23 kg (51 lb), and remain dark for several months. Females and males both grow rapidly until the fifth year, after which female growth slows considerably. Adult females measure 2.3–2.9 m (7.5–9.5 ft) in length, with an average of 2.5 m (8.2 ft), and weigh 240–350 kg (530–770 lb), with an average of 263 kg (580 lb). Males continue to grow until their secondary sexual traits appear in their fifth to eighth year. Males are slightly longer than the females; they grow to about 2.82–3.25 m (9.3–10.7 ft) long, with an average of 3 m (9.8 ft).
The vaquita (Spanish: [baˈkita]; Phocoena sinus) is a species of porpoise endemic to the northern part of the Gulf of California that is on the brink of extinction. Based on beached skulls found in 1950 and 1951, the scientific description of the species was published in 1958. As of March 2018 only about 12-15 individuals remain. The word vaquita is Spanish for “little cow”. Other names include cochito (Spanish for “little pig”), desert porpoise, vaquita porpoise, Gulf of California harbor porpoise, Gulf of California porpoise, and gulf porpoise. Since the baiji (Lipotes vexillifer) is thought to have gone extinct in 2006, the vaquita has taken on the title of the most endangered cetacean in the world. It has been listed as critically endangered since 1996. The population was estimated at 600 in 1997, below 100 in 2014,approximately 60 in 2015, around 30 in November 2016, and only 12-15 in March 2018, leading to the conclusion that the species will soon be extinct unless drastic action is taken.The population decrease is largely attributed to bycatch from the illegal gillnet fishery for the totoaba, a similarly sized endemic drum that is also critically endangered. The population decline has occurred despite an investment of tens of millions of dollars by the Mexican government in efforts to eliminate the bycatch.
The great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias), also known as the great white, white shark or white pointer, is a species of large mackerel shark which can be found in the coastal surface waters of all the major oceans. The great white shark is notable for its size, with larger female individuals growing to 6.1 m (20 ft) in length and 1,905 kg (4,200 lb) in weight at maturity. However, most are smaller; males measure 3.4 to 4.0 m (11 to 13 ft), and females measure 4.6 to 4.9 m (15 to 16 ft) on average. According to a 2014 study, the lifespan of great white sharks is estimated to be as long as 70 years or more, well above previous estimates, making it one of the longest lived cartilaginous fish currently known. According to the same study, male great white sharks take 26 years to reach sexual maturity, while the females take 33 years to be ready to produce offspring. Great white sharks can swim at speeds of over 56 km/h (35 mph), and can swim to depths of 1,200 m (3,900 ft).The great white shark has no known natural predators other than, on very rare occasions, the killer whale. The great white shark is arguably the world’s largest known extant macropredatory fish, and is one of the primary predators of marine mammals. It is also known to prey upon a variety of other marine animals, including fish and seabirds. It is the only known surviving species of its genus Carcharodon, and is responsible for more recorded human bite incidents than any other shark.
Helicoprion is a genus of extinct, shark-like eugeneodontid holocephalid fish. Almost all fossil specimens are of spirally arranged clusters of the individuals’ teeth, called “tooth whorls”— the cartilaginous skull, spine, and other structural elements have not been preserved in the fossil record, leaving scientists to make educated guesses as to its anatomy and behavior. Helicoprion lived in the oceans of the early Permian 290 million years ago, with species known from North America, Eastern Europe, Asia, and Australia. The closest living relatives of Helicoprion (and other eugeneodontids) are the chimaeras.In 2011, a tooth whorl from a Helicoprion was discovered in the Phosphoria site in Idaho. The tooth whorl measured 45 cm (18 in) in length. Comparisons with other Helicoprion specimens show that the animal that sported this whorl would have been 10 m (33 ft) in length, and another, even bigger tooth whorl that was discovered in 1980s (but was not published until 2013) which the discoverers dubbed IMNH 49382 or “Boise” was discovered at the same site. The whorl is incomplete, but in life it would have been 60 cm (24 in) long and would have belonged to an animal that possibly exceeded 12 m (39 ft) in length, making Helicoprion the largest known eugeneodont.Until 2013, the only known fossils of this genus on record were their teeth, which were arranged in a “tooth-whorl” strongly reminiscent of a circular saw.
Megalodon (Carcharocles megalodon), meaning “big tooth”, is an extinct species of shark that lived approximately 23 to 2.6 million years ago (mya), during the Early Miocene to the end of the Pliocene. It was formerly thought to be a member of the Lamnidae family, making it closely related to the great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias). However presently there is near unanimous consensus that it belongs to the extinct family Otodontidae, which diverged from the ancestry of the great white shark during the Early Cretaceous. Its genus placement is still debated, authors placing it in either Carcharocles, Megaselachus, Otodus, or Procarcharodon.Scientists suggest that megalodon looked like a stockier version of the great white shark, though it may have looked similar to the basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus) or the sand tiger shark (Carcharias taurus). Regarded as one of the largest and most powerful predators to have ever lived, fossil remains of megalodon suggest that this giant shark reached a maximum length of 18 meters (59 ft) with the average size being 10.5 meters (34 ft). Their large jaws could exert a bite force of up to 110,000 to 180,000 newtons (25,000 to 40,000 lbf). Their teeth were thick and robust, built for grabbing prey and breaking bone.Megalodon probably had a major impact on the structure of marine communities.
A marlin is a fish from the family Istiophoridae, which includes about 10 species. It has an elongated body, a spear-like snout or bill, and a long, rigid dorsal fin which extends forward to form a crest. Its common name is thought to derive from its resemblance to a sailor’s marlinspike. Even more so than their close relatives, the scombrids, marlins are fast swimmers, reaching speeds of about 80 km/h (50 mph).The larger species include the Atlantic blue marlin, Makaira nigricans, which can reach 5 m (16.4 ft) in length and 818 kg (1,803 lb) in weight and the black marlin, Istiompax indica, which can reach in excess of 5 m (16.4 ft) in length and 670 kg (1,480 lb) in weight. They are popular sporting fish in tropical areas.The marlins are perciform fish, most closely related to the swordfish and Scombridae.
The bonnethead shark or shovelhead (Sphyrna tiburo) is a small member of the hammerhead shark genus Sphyrna, and part of the family Sphyrnidae. It is an abundant species on the American littoral, is the only shark species known to display sexual dimorphism in the morphology of the head, and is the only shark species known to be omnivorous.Characterized by a broad, smooth, spade-like head, it has the smallest cephalofoil (hammerhead) of all Sphyrna species. The body is grey-brown above and lighter on the underside. Typically, bonnethead sharks are about 2–3 ft (0.61–0.91 m) long, with a maximum size of about 5 ft (150 cm). Females tend to be larger than males.Bonnethead sharks are the only sharks known to exhibit sexual dimorphism in the morphology of the head. Adult females have a broadly rounded head, whereas males possess a distinct bulge along the anterior margin of the cephalofoil. This bulge is formed by the elongation of the rostral cartilages of the males at the onset of sexual maturity and corresponds temporally with the elongation of the clasper cartilages.The pectoral fins on most fish control pitching (up-and-down motion of the body), yawing (the side-to-side motion), and rolling. Most hammerhead sharks do not yaw or roll and achieve pitch using their cephalofoils. The smaller cephalofoil of a bonnethead shark is not as successful, so they have to rely on the combination of cephalofoils and their large pectoral fins for most of their motility.
The leopard shark (Triakis semifasciata) is a species of houndshark, in the family Triakidae. It is found along the Pacific coast of North America, from the U.S. state of Oregon to Mazatlán in Mexico. Typically measuring 1.2–1.5 m (3.9–4.9 ft) long, this slender-bodied shark is immediately identifiable by the striking pattern of black saddle-like markings and large spots over its back, from which it derives its common name. Large schools of leopard sharks are a common sight in bays and estuaries, swimming over sandy or muddy flats or rock-strewn areas near kelp beds and reefs. They are most common near the coast, in water less than 4 m (13 ft) deep.Active-swimming predators, groups of leopard sharks often follow the tide onto intertidal mudflats to forage for food, mainly clams, spoon worms, crabs, shrimp, bony fish, and fish eggs. Most leopard sharks tend to remain within a particular area rather than undertaking long movements elsewhere, which has led to genetic divergence between populations of sharks living in different regions. This species is aplacental viviparous, meaning that the young hatch inside the uterus and are nourished by yolk. From March to June, the female gives birth to as many as 37 young after a gestation period of 10–12 months. It is relatively slow-growing and takes many years to mature.Harmless to humans, the leopard shark is caught by commercial and recreational fisheries for food and the aquarium trade.