SHARKS Use Earth’s Magnetic Fields for Long-Distance Journeys, Study Claims

SHARKS Use Earth’s Magnetic Fields for Long-Distance Journeys, Study Claims

SHARKS Use Earth’s Magnetic Fields for Long-Distance Journeys, Study Claims
Photo: CNET

A recent study found that sharks use the Earth’s magnetic fields to navigate the oceans. Prior to the study, it remained unclear how sharks a thousand miles away can return to the same breeding ground every year.

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This breakthrough research found that the fish are actually sensitive to alterations in the Earth’s magnetic fields and use it like a GPS.

One case cited that a great white shark migrated between South Africa and Australia. It later on returned to the same exact location the following year.

During the experiment, project leader Bryan Keller caught 20 wild young bonnetheads for observation. His team then blocked the planet’s magnetic field and replaced it with artificial signals replicating other locations.

“How cool is it that a shark can swim 20,000 kilometres round trip in a three-dimensional ocean and get back to the same site?” he said. “It really is mind blowing.”

Further, they predicted there would be no preference in orientation if the fake magnetic field aligned with the natural magnetic field.

“To be honest, I am surprised it worked,” said Mr. Keller, who is also a professor at Florida State University.

SHARKS Use Earth’s Magnetic Fields for Long-Distance Journeys, Study Claims
Photo: Forbes

“The reason this question has been withstanding for 50 years is because sharks are difficult to study.”