To be great is to be misunderstood. Older than dinosaurs—and more threatened than threatening—sharks are spectacular, surprising, and often misunderstood. Discover the incredible diversity of this ancient and fascinating group of fishes.
The new exhibition Sharks features dozens of life-sized models ranging from 33 feet to 5.5 inches long, fossils from the Museum’s collections, touch-free interactive exhibits that challenge visitors to hunt like a hammerhead, and more for visitors of all ages.
Around 450 million years ago, one branch of fishes—ancient relatives of shark—split off from the rest. Unlike most fishes, which have bony skeletons, this branch of the tree has skeletons made of cartilage.
Come face-to-face with a life-sized model of megalodon, the biggest predatory fish of all time, and see fossils of other extinct species, including Helicoprion, nicknamed the buzzsaw shark.
Teeth and Jaws
Humans replace our “baby” teeth just once. But sharks replace their teeth every few weeks, over and over, for their entire lives.
Explore an array of 12 casts of jaws and teeth of various shark species, from a great white shark’s serrated teeth for hunting seals to a zebra shark’s small, sharp teeth, specialized to chew though shells.
Biggest to Smallest Sharks
The biggest fish in the world is a shark—but other sharks are tiny. Why? The size of each species depends on how it evolved and adapted to its environment.
Discover why whale sharks achieve enormous sizes, and see models of the smallest shark species that live deep in the sea and make their own light—both so small you could hold one in your hand.
Sharks, rays, skates, and chimaeras have evolved some extraordinary sensing abilities. They can even detect things humans aren’t aware of—including electromagnetic fields and the direction of very low-frequency sounds.
Find out how swell sharks use their glowing patterns in dimly lit water, and see a largetooth sawfish blade, which has sensors that help sharks and relatives detect prey using electroreception.