Sharks are a source of fear and curiosity for most of us, including scientists. Exactly, you’ve always wondered how sharks navigate. In particular, some of them speculated that sharks might have used Earth’s magnetic field. And researchers have just confirmed this 50 year old hypothesis!
To solve this mystery, researchers turned their attention to the crested shark, scientifically called the Sphyrna tiburo. It is a tiny creature that turns summer leaves at Turkey Point Shoal. Save Our Seas Foundation researcher Bryan, who is affiliated with Florida State University’s Coastal and Marine Laboratory, published his research in Current Biology.
Researchers conducted an experiment on hammerhead sharks
In fact, you should know that the bonnethead can do 997 km back and forth hikes, which isn’t bad for a shark only 30 to 60 cm long, says the laboratory’s Dean, Dean Grubbs, adding that “the question” So they find their way back year after year “.
To understand the behavior of sharks, the researchers collected 20 local juvenile crested heads and transported them to a collection container in the marine laboratory, reports Big Think. The researchers simulated three real magnetic fields on site. When these magnetic fields were activated, the movement of the reals was recorded by GoPro cameras and their average swimming orientation was calculated by software.
The three places where sharks were “magnetically fooled”.
Photo credit: Keller et al. / Current biology
They confirmed the hypothesis of scientists 50 years ago
In the first simulation, the researchers activated a magnetic field that simulates the location where the sharks were caught. The latter then reacted like at home and swam normally. In the second simulation, the researchers activated a magnetic field 600 km south of the laboratory in the Gulf of Mexico. The sharks, mistakenly thinking they were far south of the Gulf, then swam north, toward their home waters.
A hammerhead shark. Photo credit: Shutterstock / Joe Dordo Brnobic
In the third and fourth simulations, the researchers did the opposite. They activated a magnetic field that represents a location in North America 600 km north of their home waters. The sharks then started swimming south.
For the researchers, these experiments confirmed that sharks are able to detect changes in the magnetic field and react to them. “For 50 years scientists have hypothesized that sharks use the magnetic field as a navigation aid,” says Keller. This theory was popular because it was shown that sharks are very sensitive to magnetic fields. Researchers now say that sharks use this information not only to get around, but possibly to “maintain population structure.”