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Q:

Whale Shark - Fish or Mammal?

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- Received from Karen Tal Q: Hi. I saw that you said that the biggest fish in the world was the whale shark. Isn't the whale shark though, a mammal. And fish lay eggs? I understand why you would say that the whale shark is the largest shark, but the largest fish? Are you sure? Thanks. I'd appreciate a reply. Bye A. The whale shark, Rhincodon typus, is infact the largest fish in the world. Whale sharks are indeed sharks and are not related at all to whales - they are called "whale" shark because of their huge size. Whale sharks and all other sharks are cartilaginous fish, meaning that their skeletal structure is made from cartilage and not bone. All fish that share this characteristic (this includes sharks, skates, rays, and chimaeras) are grouped in the Class Chondrichthyes (one of the three classes of fish). Whale sharks and all other members of this group, meet the basic criteria that qualify them as fish such as gills, scales, fins and an aquatic existence. Unlike many other fish ... more
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