Great white sharks have been observed along the coastlines of California to Alaska, the east coast of the USA and most of the Gulf coast, Hawaii, most of South America, South Africa, Australia (except the north coast), New Zealand, the Mediterranean Sea, West Africa to Scandinavia, Japan, and the eastern coastline of China and southern Russia.
Young great white sharks eat fish, rays, and other sharks. Adults eat larger prey, including pinnipeds (sea lions and seals), small toothed whales (like belugas), otters, and sea turtles. They also eat carrion (dead animals that they have found floating dead in the water).
Great Whites are fish, but they differ in many different ways. For example, their skeleton is not made of bone, it is made of cartilage. A shark's scales are not broad or smooth like most other fish. They are very rough, like sandpaper!!
Many paleontologists are very interested in living groups, because the study of the living organisms can both unlock their evolutionary history and provide important keys towards interpreting their fossil record. Some living groups have ancient histories. For example, sharks have existed as a group for over 350 million years! Today, sharks and rays are represented by over 600 species that show a remarkable range of ecological and morphological diversity. Unlike the true fishes, sharks do not have internal bone, but instead have a cartilaginous skeleton. Although many people are told that sharks are primitive in comparison to other groups, this is not true. Many sharks are efficient and specialized hunters that have thrived for millions of years.