From Jack the Ripper to great white sharks

June 21, 2009

What do great white sharks have in common with serial killers? Refined hunting skills, according to a paper published today in the Zoological Society of London's Journal of Zoology.

A team of US-based researchers have found that sharks hunt in a highly focused fashion, just like serial criminals.

Using the same methods used in criminology, the authors demonstrate how geographic profiling, a mathematical technique usually used to hunt serial criminals, can be used to study the hunting patterns of great white sharks.

The authors observed the location of 340 shark attacks and used the data to locate the sharks' anchor point. Interestingly, the study also showed that younger sharks exhibited less focused search patterns and were less successful hunters, perhaps because larger sharks excluded them from the best areas.

"Geographic profiling is an interesting new way to study patterns of animal foraging, and especially predation" says Dr Steven Le Comber, an expert on geographic profiling at the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences at Queen Mary, University of London. "Shark hunting patterns are extremely difficult to study and the work here will have important implications for our understanding of the ways in which predators hunt their prey."
-end-


Wiley

Related Sharks Articles from Brightsurf:

Ancient bony fish forces rethink of how sharks evolved
Sharks' non-bony skeletons were thought to be the template before bony internal skeletons evolved, but a new fossil discovery suggests otherwise.

Reef sharks in decline
Though many people find them intimidating, menacing or just plain scary, sharks are vital to the health of the world's oceans.

Sharks almost gone from many reefs
A massive global study of the world's reefs has found sharks are 'functionally extinct' on nearly one in five of the reefs surveyed.

Plastics found in sea-bed sharks
Microplastics have been found in the guts of sharks that live near the seabed off the UK coast.

Life in the shallows becomes a trap for baby sharks
Baby reef sharks tolerate living in the sometimes-extreme environments of their nurseries -- but these habitats face an uncertain future which may leave newborn sharks 'trapped'.

Caribbean sharks in need of large marine protected areas
Governments must provide larger spatial protections in the Greater Caribbean for threatened, highly migratory species such as sharks, is the call from a diverse group of marine scientists including Stony Brook University School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS) PhD Candidate, Oliver Shipley.

Recreational fishers catching more sharks and rays
Recreational fishers are increasingly targeting sharks and rays, a situation that is causing concern among researchers.

Walking sharks discovered in the tropics
Four new species of tropical sharks that use their fins to walk are causing a stir in waters off northern Australia and New Guinea.

Lonesome no more: White sharks hang with buddies
White sharks form communities, researchers have revealed. Although normally solitary predators, white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) gather in large numbers at certain times of year in order to feast on baby seals.

The private lives of sharks
White sharks are top predators in the marine environment, but unlike their terrestrial counterparts, very little is known about their predatory activity underwater, with current knowledge limited to surface predation events.

Read More: Sharks News and Sharks Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.