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From Jack the Ripper to great white sharks

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."


Contact: Victoria Picknell

Page: 1

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