Scientists discover sharks use the Earth’s magnetic field as a GPS to navigate journeys

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SAINT TERESA, Fla. (NewsNation Now) — Sharks apparently have their own sort of natural GPS when it comes to navigating long journeys across the ocean, according to new findings.

A group of scientists discovered sharks use the earth’s magnetic field as an aid to take them great distances.

One of the researchers joined NewsNation to explain their marine experiments that confirmed this long-held speculation about sharks’ behavior.

“We used a method called magnetic displacement and it’s basically a laboratory trial where we expose sharks to magnetic conditions that represent our locations on the Earth,” said Bryan Keller of Florida State University Coastal and Marine Lab. “And what we found is that when we exposed the sharks to conditions far south of their home area — their summer residence —  they oriented north back their target location. So what this tells us is they’re using the magnetic cues available to them in their environment to orient back towards their target location.”

Sharks are capable of migrating 20,000 kilometers (12,427 miles) in a year and researchers believe this will provide more insight into their behavior.

The scientists used bonnethead sharks, but Keller believes the research could apply to other species as well.

“There are over 500 species of sharks out there and obviously we only tested one, but we do expect that our research would be applicable to other species.”

Watch the full interview with Bryan Keller in the player above.

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