What would happen if there were no more sharks?

PBS YouTube series "It's Okay to be Smart" dives into what would happen if there were no more sharks in the world, but leaves out that there would be no more "Shark Week."

After 52 weeks of waiting, 2014's Shark Week kicked off on Sunday, and the Internet is starting to get its fix of the bloodthirsty marine animal. But while we're still very early into Shark Week, the PBS series "It's Okay to be Smart" has already asked the burning question, "What if there were no more sharks?"

You see, due to fear and neglect, humanity has taken certain actions that threaten sharks' very existence. Humans kill about 100 million sharks per year (about 3.17 per second), despite sharks only killing around one human per year. If this trend continues, we may very well see sharks become extinct in the next few hundred years.

And because sharks play a vital role in the ocean's food chain, a major decrease in the shark population -- or even extinction -- could trigger things like out-of-control algae or the extinction of smaller animals such as scallops that rely on sharks to eat their predators.

Be sure to check out the video to learn more about how sharks balance out the food chain. It's a good reminder of how vital sharks are to the marine ecosystem, and why we have ways like Shark Week to celebrate these awesome, scary creatures. Be on the lookout for tons more shark-related content from Discovery, PBS, and others this week.

 

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