How Many Bones Do Sharks Have And Why The Answer Is None

So how many bones do sharks have? The short and sweet answer to this question is they have no bones. Now keep reading if you want to find out why sharks don’t have any bones and what do they have. So first things first, sharks have a skeleton as you can see from the image below, but it’s not the same as you think and their ” bones ” are actually different from what you know. Let us explain.

Sharks have skeletons that are made from cartilage and another thing called connective tissue.

What is cartilage

Cartilage is the same material as you would find in your ear. If you take your finger and rub it on your ear, you can feel it’s made from something that is flexible enough to bend but hard just enough to keep it’s shape. It’s about half the density of a normal bone. Cartilage is a the tissue that forms the basis for bones, a good example to explain this is to look at babies. When they just start walking you can see their legs are rubbery, it seems they can be bent in all sorts of weird ways right? That’s because their bones are not fully developed yet.

what is connective tissue 

Just like the name implies. It’s a connecting tissue made from collagen and other fibers.

Here’s an image of the shark’s skeleton:

how many bones do sharks have 1 (1)

via: askascientist

The advantages of having a skeleton made from cartilage is that it’s flexible, it’s lighter than bone and it even heals faster. You can see why sharks evolved with this type of skeleton right? It helps them to be fast and nimble while swimming in the ocean. But sharks do need some extra support in certain areas, like their skull. Their skull, jaw and spine are stronger because they have calcium salts that protects them. It makks the skull of the shark much thicker and stronger. 


Sharks are known as Elasmobranchii animals. It is a sub category of cartilaginous animals which is called Chondrichthyes, which is a fancy way to say a group of animals who have no bones, only cartilage.

Here’s a video of a shark swimming to illustrate how flexible their bodies are because of the fact they have no bones:

So to sum up, sharks have no bones in their bodies to keep them flexible and less heavy so they can navigate the waters more easily and pray on food. It’s well known that sharks are killing machines and this for sure helps them with that.


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