As this delightful tweet from Sir Richard Branson that has been making the rounds of the internet points out, sharks aren’t even close to the scariest creatures on the planet.
With Shark Week coming up and summer vacations at the beach about to kick in, we’ll be seeing a lot of fearsome-looking sharks on TV — Jaws was the film that created the summer blockbuster phenomenon, after all.
But it’s important to remember that these fascinating creatures have a lot more to fear from us than we do from them, at least in general. Humans kill somewhere between 63 million and 273 million sharks a year, with average estimates around 100 million sharks killed annually. In comparison: 3 people died after being bitten by a shark last year.
We could quibble with the “most dangerous animal” designation. Mosquitoes spread diseases like malaria, which kills about 600,000 people a year, while humans murder about 475,000 humans each year — though perhaps we are responsible for more deaths than that, with road injuries (cars=created by humans) and diseases caused by smoking (cigarettes=created by humans) both making the top 10 causes of death worldwide.
Either way, humanity is pretty dangerous, and apparently much more likely to bite each other than to be bitten by a shark.
So even though any news of a shark bite quickly becomes front page news, people should probably spend a little less time worrying about what’s under the water.
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