FYI: Sharks Have Feelings Too


White Shark, Image: wikimedia.org/CC BY 2.5/TerryGross
Let’s face it: When some dickhole shark is really set on thrashing the last bits of life from your body, it’s hard to empathize. Watching your extremities disappear like so many buckets of chum isn’t so much a time for interspecies comradery. It can even be a very stressful and confusing experience, and you may reflexively want imagine the thing currently eating you as just that: a very bloodthirsty, unrelenting thing.

By Michael Byrne | MOTHERBOARD

But sharks have feelings too. And, according to a study published Friday in the Journal of Fish Biology, sharks even display distinct personalities. This is based on observations made of Heterodontus portusjacksoni sharks inhabiting the harbor waters off of Sydney—an area collectively known as Port Jackson—by researchers from Macquarie University in New South Wales, Australia.

Differences in shark personalities were probed by the Australian biologists using two different methods. The first is an assessment of shark boldness. Here, sharks are presented with a novel and potentially dangerous habitat and are given the option to either go out and explore or hang back under cover. Some of the Port Jackson sharks just went for it, but others mellowed in safety.

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