Did Sharks Survive All Five Mass Extinctions?

Sharks are some of the oldest and strongest creatures on Earth. They have survived all five mass extinctions, which caused significant loss of biodiversity due to different factors such as volcanoes, asteroids, and climate change.

Sharks’ Resilience Through Mass Extinctions

Around 440 million years ago, during the Ordovician-Silurian extinction, sharks were not as different as they are now. However, some of them managed to survive by changing to new conditions. About 360 million years ago, during the Late Devonian extinction, many marine species disappeared, but sharks kept changing and growing in number.

Sharks’ Resilience During “Great Dying” and Triassic-Jurassic Extinctions

The “Great Dying” happened about 252 million years ago and killed most species in the water and on land. Despite this, some sharks survived, including the ancestors of today’s sharks. Around 201 million years ago, during the Triassic-Jurassic extinction, sharks lived through it and changed to live in new places.

The last mass extinction was the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction, which happened about 66 million years ago, and an asteroid caused it. The dinosaurs and many other species went extinct, but sharks survived and continued to thrive.

Today, sharks are incredibly diverse, with over 500 species ranging in size from the tiny pygmy shark to the massive whale shark. They play a vital role in maintaining the balance of marine ecosystems, and their survival is critical to the planet’s health.


Sharks are strong and flexible creatures. They have survived tough conditions and thrived for millions of years. We should protect them and make sure they continue to live for future generations as our planet faces new challenges.