Computer model showed why sharks attack surfers

Sharks attack dozens of people every year. Although the number of attacks decreases from year to year, for

tourist cities even one incident isheavy drama - it scares away tourists. Scientists now say that with the help of computer simulations, they have confirmed the old theory that sharks attack surfers because they mistake them for seals.

A large percentage of attacks occur in largewhite sharks that attack surfers when they sit on boards or paddle. When viewed from below, the silhouette of surfers resembles the silhouette of pinnipeds (seals and sea lions) - and these animals are the natural prey of the great white shark.

Led by researcher Laura Ryan, scientists fromAustralia's Macquarie University recently set out to explore this theory more deeply. They used a large number of cameras to capture underwater video of objects such as surfboards, people on surfboards, hands splashing on the surface of the water, and other situations.

The footage was then analyzed withusing computer models based on existing neurological data on sharks, simulating the perception of a young great white shark of the shapes and movements of various objects. The analysis confirmed that young great white sharks do tend to confuse people on surfboards with pinnipeds, as they probably perceive them as very similar - this is especially true for people on short boards.

Changing the color of the boards is unlikely to help assharks are believed to be color blind. However, scientists are considering other preventive measures, such as adding high-intensity LEDs to the underside of the boards to "break up" their silhouette.

Source: newatlas

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