With a single menacing shot of a dorsal fin slicing through the Atlantic waters, Steven Spielberg probably did more to further the shark's reputation as killer than anyone else. Dorling Kindersley's Eyewitness Video: Shark points out, however, that these creatures (who appeared on Earth 150 million years before the dinosaurs) are probably among the world's most misunderstood. They can smell blood up to half a mile away, have a sixth sense to detect electricity and help them track prey, and yes, occasionally do attack humans. But since sharks only kill seven humans each year on average, we are far more likely to be killed by lightning, and we kill up to 100 million sharks per year-who do you think the real blood-thirsty predator is? Still, in ancient legends, only the volcano is more feared than sharks. The noses of World War II fighter planes were painted with shark's teeth in an added attempt to frighten the enemy. Over the course of this thirty-minute video, we are introduced to all kinds of facts about the shark through a mock "who done it" for a missing surfer whose board washed ashore with a bite missing. In solving the mystery we learn about the shark's different species, the five types known to attack man, diet, skeletal structure, senses, and teeth, which are responsible for their fearsome reputation. This entertaining narrative structure allows Dorling Kindersley to introduce even more information about sharks: they were the first creatures to give birth to live young; they've been around longer than bony fish, whales and dolphins; and they see in color. There is still a lot we don't know about sharks,as they don't exactly live in our natural habitat (in fact we didn't even discover the megamouth shark until 1976), but through computer technology and radio tracking we are learning more all the time. We've already borrowed their hydrodynamic structure for our submarines, and to some extent airplanes; this informative addition to the Eyewitness series will inspire students to quell their fears and perhaps find out what other secrets we can learn from sharks. After all, they are living proof of eons of successful evolution.
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