Sunday, 30 November 2014

The truth about sharks: Far from being 'killing machines', they have personalities, best friends and an exceptional capacity for learning

Friday 28 November 2014

I was snorkelling far offshore when the bull shark appeared. Movement in the corner of my eye, then a silhouette 30 metres away, slipping through the turquoise haze on that late afternoon. He was fat, with a bright white belly and distinctive snub nose. He studied the two-legged intruder and began to circle, slowly closing the gap: 20 metres, 15, 12...

I stuck it out for as long as I dared, then, trying to avoid panicked splashing, I kicked for the boat, not taking my eyes off him. You don't want to mess around with a bull.

These waters off tiny Bimini, in the Bahamas, teem with sharks. A tribe of marine scientists, led by the grandfather of shark biology, Samuel 'Doc' Gruber, has set up base on the island, determined to unravel the secrets of the creature most misunderstood by man. The research coming out of the Bimini Biological Field Station – better known around the world as the Sharklab – is transforming our knowledge of what glides beneath the seas and oceans.

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