Do sharks attack more during a full moon? science answers

Researchers at the University of Florida and Louisiana State University, both in the United States, have developed a recent study that demonstrates a statistical correlation between shark attacks and a natural phenomenon, lunar cycle data.

According to the authors, fewer shark attacks occurred at lower values of lunar illumination and vice versa: more attacks than expected occurred at higher values of lunar illumination — that is, at full moon.

Magnetic influence

The study, published in the journal Frontiers of Marine Science, does not suggest that the full moon acts as a kind of guide for sharks towards humans, nor that attacks happen, especially, at night.

In the statistical collection, most of the incidents occurred in broad daylight, and the study does not suggest any immediate causal relationship between the lunar movement and the attacks. The authors, Lindsay A. French, Stephen R. Midway, David H. Evans, and George H. Burgess, actually believe that there are two possible contributing factors: electromagnetic fields influenced by moon phase and tidal.

However, the authors cautioned that their analysis lacked enough historical data on shark attacks to draw important analytical conclusions. One of the points for this conclusion is that the researchers themselves considered that the date range is limited. The International Shark Attack File does not include records of all attacks, dating numbers from 1970 to 2016.

The number, although voluminous, disregards, for example, the last report, from 2020, in which 129 cases occurred worldwide, with 57 of them unprovoked. Therefore, the study does not recommend the experience of full moons to determine the risks of incidents with predators at this time.

“However, the results here strongly support the idea that moon phase plays a role in the overall risk of a shark attack, and if future studies are able to consider local and regional environmental conditions along with lunar illumination, either would underestimate shark attacks and predicting risk can improve”, according to the study.

While some shark species have 60 teeth (including those arranged in the upper and lower jaw), others, such as the infamous great white shark, have 3,000 very sharp, serrated, 3,000-inch triangular teeth set into the jaws in rows. slightly tilted inwards.

The megalodon, a prehistoric ancestor of the shark, was a little more modest in number (it is estimated that it had 246), however, its bite force made it one of the biggest predators of its time. Although its bite was one of the strongest ever recorded in history, it must be remembered that the number of teeth is not the only factor linked to the damage of the bite: even that of smaller sharks can be dangerous.

Source: UOL


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