Scientists in Florida have concluded that sharks possess an internal navigation system similar to GPS that allows them to use Earth’s magnetic forces to travel long distances with accuracy. The researchers from Florida State University made the discovery by subjecting 20 bonnethead sharks, part of the hammerhead family, to “magnetic displacement” exercises that replicated geographical locations hundreds of miles from where they were captured. When the sharks were exposed to magnetic cues emulating a site about 375 miles south of where they were captured, they turned to swim north, exhibiting a “homeward orientation” suggesting the use of magnetic forces in their navigation, said Bryan Keller, the lead author of the study. The research published in the scientific journal Current Biology helps explain why sharks can travel across vast oceans but return to exactly the same location annually to feed, breed and give birth, Keller said. “We’ve known for some time they have the ability to detect the magnetic field, this is the first time that’s tested successfully that they use those abilities to infer their location or if they’re garnering map-like information from the magnetic field,” he said. “We expect these abilities are also observed in other species like […]

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