By the Numbers: Sharks vs. Well-Known Travel Sights
Most of us don't get up close and personal enough with sharks to appreciate just how big, heavy and athletic they are. That's where art, monuments and culture come in: We've paired these denizens of the deep with their counterparts on dry land (no boat, bigger or otherwise, needed).
Photo By: PEG
Photo By: John Greim
A great white shark...
With an average length of 13-16 feet — and a few spectacular specimens that have topped 20 feet — the great white shark is the world's largest predatory fish. (Check out this video of a massive female, likely the largest shark that's ever been filmed, here.)
...and Michelangelo's David
A whale shark...
....and Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters' bus
A dwarf lantern shark...
...and Van Gogh's Sunflowers
..and George Washington's face on Mount Rushmore
Carved around 16 million years after megalodons went belly-up, George Washington's stone likeness in South Dakota is 60 feet tall, with a 21-foot nose and 11-foot eyes. The founding father’s feelings about sharks, prehistoric or otherwise, are largely lost to history — though it’s worth noting that according to 2016 research published in Science, there are Greenland sharks alive today that were born before George(!).
A great hammerhead shark's cephalofoil...
...and Robert Indiana's LOVE sculpture
A long-tailed thresher shark’s tail...
...and the Statue of Liberty’s crown spikes
There are seven appendages on Lady Liberty’s headpiece — one for each of the seven continents — and each happens to be just about as long as a fox shark’s tail. She does not use her crown to stun or frighten prey, as far as we know.
A basking shark's mouth...
The slow-moving basking shark is the second-largest fish in the sea, and its mug — complete with a yard-wide maw — is a bit startling (and single-file lines of them were frequently mistaken for massive sea monsters centuries ago). Like the whale shark, however, the basking shark is more interested in plankton than it is in us.
...and Rodin's Thinker
Auguste Rodin cast his pensive poet — meant to represent Dante Alighieri — in a number of sizes, and some would perch comfortably on the edge of a desk. The version in the Musée Rodin’s Parisian sculpture garden, while nutritionally questionable, is just about the width of a basking shark’s mouth.
A shortfin mako's leap...
The fastest shark in the ocean has more in common with torpedoes than it does with fellow fish: It can swim at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour in pursuit of tuna, and it can launch itself 30 feet in the air.
...and the statue in the Lincoln Memorial
While it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which a shortfin mako leaps over Honest Abe as he watches over Washington D.C., we’ve seen Deep Blue Sea and the Sharknado films and know that anything is possible. Just saying: If conditions were right, our money is on the mako.