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The species of mako shark (Isurus) has dominated the world's oceans since the Pliocene (i.e. approx. 24 million years ago) and evolved in the Miocene into the mako sharks still living today: the short-finned mako (Isurus oxyrynchus) and long-finned mako (Isurus paucus).
The name mako comes from the Maori language. Little is known about the already extinct mako sharks, but the extinct Isurus hastalis is considered a direct ancestor of the great white shark.
The two species that still exist today, the long-finned and short-finned mako, are distributed almost worldwide and are considered endangered according to the IUCN.
Mako sharks are very slender and hydrodynamic in build. They have a dark blue dorsal side and white underside. The longfin mako shark looks very similar to the shortfin mako shark, but has larger fins and eyes and is much rarer. The largest known member of the species had a length of 4.2 metres. On average, they reach a length of 2.5 - 4.2 metres.
The short-finned mako is considered to be the fastest shark in existence, reaching speeds of up to 50 km per hour. It is also known to jump out of the water, reaching an incredible height of up to 30 metres.