Top 5 Myths About Sharks

Script written by QV Hough The big screen loves to paint these beautiful, majestic creatures as ravaging beasts hell-bent on tearing you limb from limb. But that’s not entirely true…Right? Welcome to WatchMojo's Top 5 Myths, the series that finds the biggest myths people actually believe, and dispels them one by one. In this instalment we're dispelling five myths about sharks that had us reaching for our harpoons. Special thanks to our users QV Hough or submitting the idea using our interactive suggestion tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script written by QV Hough

Top 5 Myths About Sharks

 
The big screen loves to paint these beautiful, majestic creatures as ravaging beasts hell-bent on tearing you limb from limb. But that’s not entirely true…Right? Welcome to WatchMojo’s Top 5 Myths, the series that finds the biggest myths people actually believe, and dispels them one by one. In this instalment we’re dispelling five myths about sharks that had us reaching for our harpoons.
 

#5: Sharks Don’t Get Cancer

 
So once upon a time, a fellow by the name of William Lane wrote a book titled “Sharks Don’t Get Cancer: How Shark Cartilage Could Save Your Life” – and we’ll give you one guess what it was about.
Yes, apparently Sharks are such tanks that not even disease can take them down. And why? Because of the distribution of their freaky-super-predator-cartilage that makes them totally immune to cancer. Except that’s completely false.
Researchers have debunked the myth as far back as 2000, when John C. Harshbarger and Gary Ostrander presented their findings to the American Heart Association. And while the cancer myth alone is troubling, the fact remains that approximately 200,000 sharks are harvested each month for cartilage.
 

#4: Eating Shark Fins Is Good for Your Health!

 
Shark fin soup has been a long-standing tradition in Chinese cuisine, in part due to its association to certain health benefits. Whether it’s for softening your skin,increasing your Qi, or making life in the bedroom all the better – shark fin soup is the way to go if you want to stay healthy. I mean, there are no actual PROVEN benefits for the soup…and the high mercury levels found in sharks are likely going to do more damage than good. But we’ll leave you to make your own decisions.
But to be clear, it’s no myth that humans do consume plenty of shark fins. Yet, in recent years, there’s been less interest in fins over recent years, and maybe it’s due to high prices and supposed medical benefits steeped in mythology rather than actual science. Above all, the inherent cruelty is a serious cause of concern, as the shark population continues to decline with each passing year.
 

#3: If a Shark Stops Moving, It Will DIE

 
As if like a sentient, man-eating missile, many people believe that Sharks have to constantly move forward. But in reality, most sharks are fully capable of resting at the bottom of the ocean, thanks to something called “buccal pumping.” This means that they can physically gulp water to pass through and over the gills. However, not all have this option, most notably the Great White Shark. Out of the 400 types of shark species, approximately 24 are classified as “Obligate Ram Ventilators”, which means they’re physically incapable of buccal pumping and must instead “ram” water in and out through perpetual motion. Of course, this is rare, but even so, many people incorrectly associate this kind of breathing with all sharks as a collective whole.
 

#2: Sharks Cannot Survive in Fresh Water

 
Think it’s safe to take a little dip in the river to avoid these ferocious fishies? You thought wrong.
Sure, sharks are most commonly associated with the oceans, or saltwater. But one such species known as the Bull Shark is a living example that life is possible in freshwater too. In the ocean, a process called “osmoregulation” allows the shark to take in water and subsequently remove the salt from their bodies through urination. On the flipside, a freshwater shark has the ability to distort osmoregulation, which means their kidneys get rid of more urea – watered-down urine -  than salt. While it’s not an ideal lifestyle for the scary bastards, it’s one that is possible nonetheless. So let’s just play it safe and stay out of any body of water, ever. Because they will find you. And they will eat you.
 

#1: Sharks Eat Humans Whole

 
In 1975, Jaws sank its teeth into the world and a myth was born: sharks will find us in the ocean and eat us whole. Yet with all due respect to the families and friends of attack victims, sharks reportedly killed only 23 people in America over a 50-year span from 1959 to 2009. Provoked or unprovoked, sharks don’t actually kill that many humans, yet humans continue to kill them. And according to The Washington Post, the odds of being attacked are about 11.5 million to one. And yes, there are sharks that specifically target humans as opposed to a “mistaken identity.” Even so, it’s highly unlikely that sharks will eat us whole. Of course, it’s possible but you’re far more likely to drown or get done in by any of the other wonderful creatures in that watery graveyard…Unless they find a way out of the ocean! [Sharknado clip]
 
So how many of these myths did you believe? Here’s what google searchers are asking about sharks. For more sharp-toothed top 10s and beady-eyed Top 5s, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com
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