Sharks can become morbidly obese

Why are we afraid of sharks?

We are usually not afraid of sharks per se, and these animals come in many different shapes and sizes. A total of over 465 species are known, starting with the 23 centimeter tall one Euprotomicrus bispinatus up to the 20 meter long whale shark. Many of these cartilaginous fish feed on fish, crustaceans, molluscs, plankton, krill, marine mammals and other sharks. In short: people are not on the menu.

According to Ropeik, we're more scared of how a shark could kill us. The thought of being eaten alive by a five-meter-long tiger shark is quite painful - and we fear the possibility that we could die from a shark attack.

In fact, it is much more likely that the vending machine in the office will kill us or that a cow will fall on us in a pasture. But fears don't necessarily have to do with fact, and our fear of a shark attack is more anchored in our emotions than in reality.

What we fear most is losing control. When you swim in shark waters, you just don't want to be grabbed by the jaws of a mysterious predator that seals your fate.

“The thought of being eaten by an animal in control of the situation is another factor,” said Ropeik. "It's more about the essence of the experience, not about the actor per se."

Where did this fear come from?

Fears are not necessarily innate; they develop over time. Children are not afraid of snakes or great heights - but as we grow up, our brains are more receptive to fear stimuli.

And our ancestors had a lot of good reasons to be afraid. Just imagine how our early human relatives survived in their habitat. They would have avoided high cliffs and wild predators because they knew they were potentially deadly threats. It was this caution that kept them alive. Fear is a learned adaptation that is used for protection.

"We inherited fear from our early ancestors," says Chapman. “Sharks are animals. Biological factors like animals are something that we often fear. "