Sharks exhibit mathematician-like behavior

Sharks Act Like Math Geniuses
Sharks Act Like Math Geniuses

Your average shark may not be able to figure out that two plus two, equals four; however, new research says their hunting behavior makes them look like mathematical geniuses. Sharks use a keen sense of smell in search of prey, but when a fishy meal isn't nearby, they patrol the water using mathematician-like behavior.

This paper, published in "Proceedings Of The Royal Society A", says sharks and other marine predators hunt in a foraging pattern called a "Lévy flight." "Lévy flights" also called "Lévy walks" are named after the French mathematician who first studied them, Paul Peirre Levy.

Basically, short hops, or distances, are common. Medium hops less common, and every once in a while, there's a long distance covered by the hunter, then the pattern begins again.

Reynolds, the paper's author, believes sharks save energy by not having to prowl every inch of ocean. But how does a shark know when to turn?

Reynolds told, sharks turn to avoid underwater turbulence, or rough water. He said, "remarkably, the distribution of these rough patches of water, coincides with the distribution of turns in a levy flight."

So fortunately, sharks don't need to know if two plus two equals four to score that next good meal.

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