Sharks shrug shoul­ders to swal­low ‘re­luc­tant’ meal

Muscat Daily - - WORLD -

Paris, France - How does a bam­boo shark, which uses suc­tion to latch on to its prey, swal­low a wrig­gling, re­luc­tant meal? With a shrug of its shoul­ders, ac­cord­ing to a study pub­lished in the jour­nal Pro­ceed­ings of the Royal So­ci­ety B.

That rates as Big News for spe­cial­ists, who have long as­sumed that U-shaped car­ti­lage be­tween the head and body ex­isted only to con­trol the preda­tor’s front-most fins.

Not so, ac­cord­ing to lead au­thor Ariel Camp, a post­doc­toral re­searcher at Brown Univer­sity in the US state of Rhode Is­land. ‘Sharks don’t have tongues to move food through their mouths’, she said in a state­ment. ‘They have this long phar­ynx, and they have to keep food mov­ing down it’.

Bam­boo sharks, which grow to about a me­tre and are harm­less to hu­mans, favour a diet of small fish and in­ver­te­brates such as crabs. They cre­ate suc­tion to grasp their prey and a frac­tion of a sec­ond af­ter the mouth closed around a bit of squid or her­ring, the ‘shoul­der gir­dle’ quickly ro­tated back­ward - from head to tail, the study showed.

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