Difference between Shark and Dolphin
By Theydiffer - June 24, 2016

The Earth’s surface is covered by 71 percent of water filled with creatures that have both amazed and terrified us. Humans have a long history with these animals and interactions with them have often gone down in history. But be wary, plenty of them won’t hesitate to attack when threatened and it’s useful to know if a fin popping out of the water is from a friendly one or not. Let’s take a look at the two sea animals most commonly confused with the other and see what are their differences.

Definitions

Difference between shark and dolphin fins

Attitude and reputation

Sharks and Dolphins also have very contrasting reputations with humans. Sharks are often associated with fear due to the attacks on people that have occurred throughout the years. While not a natural food source for sharks, humans, especially surfers and their boards, are often mistaken by sharks as large fish due to their poor vision. The blockbuster franchise Jaws has helped popularize the terror over shark attacks, and the decline in their numbers has been attributed to shark hunting and killing carried out by humans. Sharks are also solitary hunters and would even kill each other as prey.

Meanwhile, dolphins are often regarded as helpers of humankind, even going as far back as Ancient Greece. Because of their friendly countenance, they don’t view humans as a threat and therefore won’t attack even when provoked. Some reports by victims include instances of a group of dolphins forming a protective ring around a human in order to prevent a shark from attacking, or else lifting a drowning human to help him/her breathe. The theory is that dolphins recognize humans as fellow mammals and therefore will come to our aid.

When in captivity, most sharks are only suitable for viewing because even the young ones would tend to bite. Dolphins have been known to provide entertainment and because of their intelligence can learn tricks quickly.

Comparison Chart

SharkDolphin
Natural PredatorsSocially Friendly
Two dorsal fins (straight)One dorsal fin (curved)
FishMammals