Twitter Logo
Instagram Logo
LinkedIn Logo

The Secret History of Sharks: The Rise of the Ocean's Most Fearsome Predators (Hardcover)

The Secret History of Sharks: The Rise of the Ocean's Most Fearsome Predators By John Long Cover Image
Usually Ships in 1-5 Days


From ancient megalodons to fearsome Great Whites, this book tells the complete, untold story of how sharks emerged as Earth’s ultimate survivors, by world-leading paleontologist John Long.

“Will keep you on the edge of your seat from its first page to its last page.”—Jared Diamond, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Guns, Germs, and Steel

Sharks have been fighting for their lives for 500 million years and today are under dire threat. They are the longest-surviving vertebrate on Earth, outlasting multiple mass extinction events that decimated life on the planet. But how did they thrive for so long? By developing superpower-like abilities that allowed them to ascend to the top of the oceanic food chain.

John Long, who for decades has been on the cutting edge of shark research, weaves a thrilling story of sharks’ unparalleled reign. The Secret History of Sharks showcases the global search to discover sharks’ largely unknown evolution, led by Long and dozens of other extraordinary scientists. They embark on digs to all seven continents, investigating layers of rock and using cutting-edge technology to reveal never-before-found fossils and the clues to sharks’ singular story. 

As the tale unfolds, Long introduces an enormous range of astonishing organisms: a thirty-foot-long shark with a deadly saw blade of jagged teeth protruding from its lower jaws, a monster giant clams crusher, and bizarre sharks fossilized while in their mating ritual. The book also includes startling new facts about the mighty megalodon, with its sixty-six-foot-long body, massive jaws, and six-inch serrated teeth.

With insights into the threats to sharks today, how they contribute to medical advances, and the lessons they can teach us about our own survival, The Secret History of Sharks is a riveting look at scientific discovery with ramifications far beyond the ocean.

About the Author

John Long is the strategic professor of paleontology at Flinders University, one of Australia’s largest paleontological research groups. The former vice president of research and collections at the Museum of Natural History of Los Angeles County, Long has published more than 200 peer-reviewed papers, some 25 books and over 150 popular science articles. His groundbreaking research work on the evolution of fishes and the origins of sex has appeared in the magazines Nature, Science, and Scientific American.

Praise For…

“A must-read on the history of the underwater predator.”The New York Post

“Sharks scare and fascinate us. How did they evolve? How did they beat out the ocean’s other giant predators of the past, like carnivorous marine reptiles? Is it ever safe to swim with Great White Sharks? What else do sharks do to make a living, besides eating us and other big prey? This book, by shark expert and great writer John Long, will keep you on the edge of your seat from its first page to its last page.”—Jared Diamond, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Guns, Germs, and Steel

“In this magnificent book, the eminent paleontologist John Long tells the true story of sharks and their evolutionary legacy spanning hundreds of millions of years. Rich with scientific detail and enlivened with stories from Long’s decades of fossil discoveries and cutting-edge research, this book is the work of a master scientist and storyteller. It will make you see sharks in a new way: not as blood-thirsty monsters that we should fear, but as nature’s ultimate survivors that can teach us about evolution and environmental change.”—Steve Brusatte, professor and paleontologist at the University of Edinburgh and New York Times bestselling author of The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs
“Dive in to this effervescent, engaging biography of the world’s most misunderstood creatures. Evolving in obscurity almost half a billion years ago, sharks have endured the worst that the earth could throw at them. They were here long before the dinosaurs. When dinosaurs died out, sharks were still here. But will they be able to survive the Earth’s current threat: us?”—Henry Gee, PhD, senior editor of Nature and author of the award-winning A (Very) Short History of Life on Earth

“Every week is Shark Week for John Long, who has spent his life scouring the planet for clues to the mystery of shark evolution. Thoroughly researched and wonderfully narrated, The Secret History of Sharks makes a convincing case that the story of sharks is nothing less than the story of life on Earth. Highly recommended!”—Nate Blakeslee, New York Times bestselling author of American Wolf

“Readers will want to sink their teeth into this.”Publishers Weekly

“Long writes lively, lucid prose, and while this is not a textbook, he delivers an extremely detailed education in the history, anatomy, behavior, and ecology of the extensive shark family. . . . An expert natural history with few stones left unturned. If you enjoy searching for shark teeth, read this book.”—Kirkus Reviews

Product Details
ISBN: 9780593598078
ISBN-10: 0593598075
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: July 2nd, 2024
Pages: 480
Language: English