September 2012

Unlocking the secrets of the Greenland Shark

One of the dreams of any naturalist is to be the first to find and detail the life of a hidden or unknown animal first hand. Since 2003, scientific divers with the Greenland Shark and Elasmobranch Education and Research Group (GEERG) have begun to unravel the mysterious life of the Greenland shark, which at over seven meters in maximum body length and exceeding a ton in weight, is the second largest carnivorous shark after the great white.

Lemon sharks have the ability to learn from each other's behaviour

Sharks learn from each other

The evidence came from a task-based experiment with juvenile sharks conducted in an underwater pen.

Social learning has already been widely demonstrated among other species and animal groups including corvids, chimps and bats, so Dr Guttridge speculated the same could be true for sharks.

"Sharks do migrate long distances and maybe there's a social context to this as well," he told BBC Nature, comparing his subjects with whales and dolphins that learn their migration routes through culture.