Mar 16, 2022 7:30:25 PM | 3 Min Read

The Shark Misinterpretation

Posted By
Sierra Stirnkorb
The Shark Misinterpretation

Sharks Purpose

If you're afraid of sharks do not worry, you are not alone. Many people let this "man-eater" fear keep them from diving, but it is my hope that once you have read my shark blog series, your galeophobia- the fear of sharks- will lighten.

Many people fear the apex predator that lurks below the waves but sharks just like all living beings have one vital goal in life. This goal is survival. Unlike many other beings, sharks play a crucial role in the health and wellness of their ecosystems. Therefore, they are considered a keystone species. Keystone species collectively stabilize an ecosystem but can vastly disrupt an ecosystem if they are removed. The shark's purpose as a keystone species is to filter and regulate the unwell and weakest marine life. Animals that are injured, sick, or dying are on their radar at all times, This allows for the healthy species to further produce healthy populations.  

You are likely wondering how sharks could mistake humans as prey if their intent is balancing healthy ecosystems. This is evidently shown through their hunting strategies. Sharks detect prey by sound and are attracted to low recurring vibrations such as what an injured or unwell species would release. When a shark senses high stress from an animal that is hypothetically struggling at the surface it is reasonable for them to assume that this is prey. When unsure if this is their meal, they will curiously bite their victim to make certain of this. When they realize you are not prey, they will release their grip on you and swim off. This is the most common "attack" we see on humans causing a mild to moderate wound. When sharks are certain that you are prey, they will fully bite you in an attempt to badly disable you. Once they have done so they will swim off allowing their prey to bleed out and die making their job a lot easier. Luckily for humans, we have an advantage as safety is more accessible and we seem to be unpleasantly tasting to them. Research indicates that sharks' teeth carry pressure-sensitive nerves which explains why their curious instinct is to lead with their teeth.

One major takeaway from their feeding strategies is that we are in their habitat where they feed. It would be odd if we did not cross paths with the food chain. Humans feel out an object with their hands while sharks think mouth first!

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