The whale shark is a slow-moving filter-feeding carpet shark and the largest known extant fish species. The largest confirmed individual had a length of 12.65 m and a weight of about 21.5 t. Unconfirmed claims of considerably larger individuals, over 14 m long and weighing at least 30 t, are not uncommon. The whale shark holds many records for sheer size in the animal kingdom, most notably being by far the largest living nonmammalian vertebrate. It is the sole member of the genus Rhincodon and the only extant member of the family Rhincodontidae, which belongs to the subclass Elasmobranchii in the class Chondrichthyes. The species originated about 60 million years ago.Scientific name: Rhincodon typus
Biological classification: Species
Belongs to: Rhincodon
Whale shark Rhincodon typus compared in size with a human.