EDUCATION: Shark School

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Science  24 Aug 2001:
Vol. 293, Issue 5534, pp. 1407
DOI: 10.1126/science.293.5534.1407e

Two horrific attacks this summer, nervous swimmers, a Time cover story—sharks haven't made this kind of impact since the movie Jaws premiered in 1975. For a timely rundown of sharks' biology and relationship with us, check out the shark site at the University of Florida Museum of Natural History.

Start with the star attraction, a searchable gallery with more than 100 photos and paintings of these elasmobranchs. Or browse illustrated profiles that illuminate the habits, diet, range, conservation status, and taxonomy of species like the basking shark and the megamouth shark, a blunt-nosed filter-feeder that can grow to 5 meters long but was only discovered in 1976. Another section draws on the International Shark Attack File, a compilation of over 2700 case reports housed at the museum. Read up on incidents by area, year, the victim's activity beforehand, and species (great whites lead in number of attacks). Or take comfort in the fact that sharks injure less than one-tenth as many people as do aerosol air fresheners.

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