WOODLAND PARK, NJ - The fifth grade class at Memorial School recently received a visit from veterinarian Dr. Mark Salemi, who also serves as a local Board of Education member. Dr. Salemi is co-owner of Northside Animal Hospital in Staten Island, N.Y. After school, Dr. Salemi met with the members of the Animal Club.
Dr. Salemi's presentation this year was about sharks. He showed students megaladon teeth and a whale bone that he found diving off the coast of the Carolinas some 50 miles out and about 120 feet deep. He estimated they could be about 15 million years old. The only evidence left that megaladons ever existed are teeth.
Students learned that sharks continually produce and lose teeth. They can go through over 40,000 in a lifetime. There are also over 400 different species of sharks - ranging from 8 inches to 40 feet long.
Sharks get a bad rap, he said. In 2017, there were 5 reported shark attacks, compared to the approximately 100 million sharks that are killed by people annually. Sharks are killed for their fins, which are used to make fin soup in China. Dr. Salemi noted that sharks are an important part of the marine ecosystem, as they help maintain the balance of life in the ocean.
Dr. Salemi also brought along a number of animals to show the students and spoke in detail about each, before bringing the animals around so students could touch them. He brought a rabbit, chinchilla, two guinea pigs, bearded dragon and three tortoises.