Superorder of predatory cartilaginous fish

Sharks are a group of elasmobranch fish characterized by a cartilaginous skeleton, five to seven gill slits on the sides of the head, and pectoral fins that are not fused to the head. Modern sharks are classified within the clade Selachimorpha and are the sister group to the Batoidea. Some sources extend the term "shark" as an informal category including extinct members of Chondrichthyes with a shark-like morphology, such as hybodonts. Shark-like chondrichthyans such as Cladoselache and Doliodus first appeared in the Devonian Period, though some fossilized chondrichthyan-like scales are as old as the Late Ordovician. The oldest modern sharks (selachians) are known from the Early Jurassic, about 200 Ma.

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