Wild Things: Great Whites, Tree Snakes, Drongos and More
These animals redefine life as we know it
- By T.A. Frail, Megan Gambino, Jesse Rhodes, Jess Righthand and Sarah Zielinski
- Smithsonian magazine, February 2011
(Richard Herrmann / Oxford Scientific / Photolibrary)
Great white sharks have the strongest known bite of any living animal. But until they grow to about ten feet in length, says study leader Toni Ferrara of the University of New South Wales, they are “awkward teenagers.” Their jaws don’t have enough stiff cartilage to withstand the stress of chomping on large prey. This may explain why juvenile sharks that attack human swimmers often shy away after the first nibble.
Learn more about the great white shark at the Encyclopedia of Life.
"Whistling in caterpillars (Amorpha juglandis, Bombycoidea): sound-producing mechanism and function," Veronica L. Bura et al., Journal of Experimental Biology, December 8, 2010
"Mechanics of biting in great white and sandtiger sharks," T. L. Ferrara et al., Journal of Biomechanics, December 3, 2010
"Non-equilibrium trajectory dynamics and the kinematics of gliding in a flying snake," John J. Socha et al., Bioinspiration & Biomimetics, November 24, 2010
"Singing for your supper: sentinel calling by kleptoparasites can mitigate the cost to victims," Andrew N. Radford et al., Evolution, November 18, 2010
"Why does Viola hondoensis (Violaceae) shed its winter leaves in spring?" Kouki Hikosaka et al., American Journal of Botany, November 15, 2010