New Study Sheds Light on Why Sharks Attack Humans

© Blogger photo shark.passion/screenshotsalmon shark
salmon shark  - Sputnik International, 1920, 17.02.2022
Movies have taught us that sharks are bloodthirsty creatures that can’t spend a second without killing a human. In reality, however, these predators are in no way interested in eating human flesh. Nevertheless, their dietary preferences don’t stop them from attacking people.
Scientists from Macquarie University claim to have found the reason why sharks attack humans. According to the findings of their study, this happens because sharks poorly distinguish objects (a thousand apologies for biting your head off, I thought you were a seal).

Researchers came to this conclusion after attaching an underwater camera to a scooter, which was then sent cruising at the same speed as sharks swim. After obtaining the footage that was recorded, the scientists created a modelling program to simulate how sharks see objects in water.

It is believed that most sharks, including great white sharks, responsible for the largest number of fatal attacks on humans, are colour blind, hence they rely on the silhouette shapes.

"We found that surfers, swimmers and pinnipeds (seals and sea-lions) on the surface of the ocean will look the same to a white shark looking up from below, because these sharks can’t see fine details or colours", said Dr Laura Ryan, a post-doctoral researcher in animal sensory systems at Macquarie University’s Neurobiology Lab.

Researchers say juvenile sharks are more dangerous to humans because they struggle with distinguishing objects, compared with older sharks, which have a better vision.

Scientists say they hope their study can prevent tragic incidents and improve coexistence between humans and these predators.

The study comes amid a report that 2021 was a record year for shark attacks - 73 unprovoked bites, compared to 21 in 2020.
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