Brain Bites: Social-Brain’s Tribute to Shark Week

SB Shark Week

Shark Week is arguably one of the most fascinating weeks of the year.  For one week we celebrate the stealthiest killer on the planet by paying tribute with specials, dramas, and documentaries. It’s amazing to think sharks have been around since the time of dinosaurs and in those millions of years since have changed very little. We here at Social-Brain are celebrating Shark Week by joining the feeding frenzy and sharing some facts about sharks’ brains:

A shark’s brain is roughly about two feet in size. Most species of shark have a “Y” shaped brain.

In comparison to most animals sharks have a pretty good brain to body mass ratio. Humans of course have an excellent brain to body ratio, but sharks aren’t all that far behind.

2/3 of a shark’s brain weight is made up of olfactory lobes. Olfaction, otherwise known as the ability to process smell, is a very important sense for predators. Since so much of the shark’s brain is dedicated to smelling, it makes it a very dangerous hunter as it has the ability to detect the scent of prey from far away.

Sharks actually have seven senses. Five of the shark’s senses are actually shared with humans. However, sharks have two additional senses that make them unique. The first is the ability to sense electrical pulses in the water, and the second is the ability to sense pressure in water. These two additional sense aid in hunting/avoiding prey and other predators.

Sharks actually have complex social interactions. This is mainly as a result of their healthy brain to body mass ratio.

A modern shark’s brain growth slows as they age, even as the rest of their bodies expand.

In 17th century France shark brain was ingested by expecting mothers to help ease the pain of child birth. Today dried shark brain is widely recognized for its ability to relieve pain.

Hopefully you enjoyed these shark brain tidbits. Enjoy the rest of the week and remember, “Live every week like it is shark week.”