Sharks use the Earth’s magnetic field as GPS – Wel.nl

Sharks use the Earth's magnetic field as GPS - Wel.nl

Sharks have an indoor navigation system that allows them to travel long distances while still returning home. They use the Earth’s magnetic fields like GPS.

This is the conclusion reached by researchers at Florida State University who had 20 disguised hammerhead sharks performing exercises that simulated geographic locations that were hundreds of kilometers from where they were trapped. When they were exposed to magnetic signals, they found their way home again. Study leader Brian Keeler said he showed that sharks use magnetic force to move around.

The study, published in Current Biology, explains why sharks are able to cross entire oceans and return to exactly the same site every year to reproduce. “We’ve known for some time that they have the ability to sense a magnetic field, but this is the first time they’ve been successfully tested with these skills for mobility,” Keeler says.

According to Science Magazine, a great white shark was tracked in 2005 as it swam almost in a straight line from South Africa to Australia and back. She gave researchers the idea that sharks, like some birds, have the ability to navigate the Earth’s magnetic field.

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