Anatomy of a Shark Bite

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There are 350 species of shark, but there are also specific telltale signs that shark attack experts look for when it comes to identifying the one responsible for an attack.

1. Bite Radius

Simply, the wider the bite the longer the shark. Once a bite measures beyond a certain size, most species can be set aside from suspicion.

2. Wound Shape

The curvature of the bite will help indicate the shape of the shark’s mouth, offering another clue.

3. Damage

It takes a large, heavy shark to inflict major damage on a human. If a limb is severed, was it cleanly bitten off or torn off?

4. Tooth Shape

A shark’s teeth are fairly distinctive. Do the wounds suggest that they are triangular, pointed, curved or serrated? Are the wounds ragged or relatively clean? Can an individual tooth width or length be determined from the wounds?

5. Bite Direction

Predatory species such as great whites and tiger sharks will often attack from beneath or behind. Sharks that attack to defend themselves may bite from an unusual direction.

Learn more about the people who do CSI-style investigations on shark attacks.

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