Scientists Discover A Great White Shark 'Paleo-Nursery' In Chile

According to a new report, scientists recently managed to find what is claimed to be a prehistoric nursery site for great white sharks. Per the team, this new discovery could have implications for protecting them today.

Scientists Discover ‘‘Paleo-Nursery’’ For Great White Sharks

Swift, agile, smart and deadly, the great white shark is one of the deep blue’s foremost apex predators. Despite this, the wonderful but deadly creature is still a vulnerable species.

Now, a team of scientists managed to discover what is claimed to be a prehistoric nursery site for these sharks; a site which could have great implications for the efforts that we make to protect their kind today.

Led by University of Vienna paleontologist Jaime A. Villafaña, an international team of scientists recently conducted a statistical analysis of 2 to 5 million-year-old great white shark teeth that were discovered in several sites along Chile and Peru’s Pacific coast.

By studying the teeth and their dimensions, the team was then able to pinpoint where the sharks which these teeth belonged to came from. One of these locations is called Coquimbo, which is a Northern Chilean location that contained the highest percentage of young sharks without any adults alongside them.

Because of this, the team was able to deduce that the area is a nursery where young sharks are weaned until they are old enough to be on their own. And although such areas still exist today, this is the first time that scientists were able to discover one that dates back to prehistoric times.

However, it’s not just the “age” of the nursery that’s fascinating, but its location is as well. This is because the area would be much warmer when it’s being used as a nursery, meaning that today’s warming climate allows the sharks to move their nursery when needed.

“If we understand the past, it will enable us to take appropriate protective measures today to ensure the survival of this top predator, which is of utmost importance for ecosystems. Our results indicate that rising sea surface temperatures will change the distribution of fish in temperate zones and shift these important breeding grounds in the future,” Jürgen Kriwet, U Vienna paleobiologist, said.

shark Per experts, the gradual increase of unprovoked shark attacks in the last few years might be due to warming water temperatures. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock