Shark brains similar to humans
Shark attacks have been the cause of five deaths in the waters off the Australian coast this year, but scientists say that new research may be able to help them to prevent further injuries. Contrary to popular belief–shark researcher Kara Yopak claims–sharks are not the small-brained eating machines that people think they are.
Sharks actually have brains that are similar in size to many mammals, and Yopak’s new research shows that the brain of the shark has a lot in common with the human brain.
“Great white sharks have quite large parts of the brain associated with their visual input, with implications for them being much more receptive to repellents targeting visual markers,” Kara Yopak, a research associate at the University’s Animal Biology department told AFP.
One useful similarity is the fact that sharks have a large part of their brain devoted to visual input. Previous shark-repellant technologies have targeted the electro-sensitive pores on the shark’s head to deter them. While this technology is useful, it has not been completely successful.
Future shark-repellant technology will utilize visual stimuli to prevent shark attacks, which could be something as simple as a design on a surfboard.
According to Yopak: “A shark may recognise a poisonous sea-snake’s markings and swim away, for example, and we can use this information to cue a response.”