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Why Are We Afraid Of Sharks? There's A Scientific Explanation.

2019-7-4 10:47| 发布者: hujian| 查看: 53| 评论: 0

摘要:   Sharks, especially great whites, were catapulted into the public eye with the>  But where did our fear of sharks come from, and how far back does it go? That and other shark-related inquiries be ...

  Sharks, especially great whites, were catapulted into the public eye with the>

  But where did our fear of sharks come from, and how far back does it go? That and other shark-related inquiries below.

We're going to need a bigger boat: Take a look at the design history of Jaws and its iconic cover https://t.co/dRdRPILF7L pic.twitter.com/FO3ihh1XlG

— Pan Macmillan (@panmacmillan) January 22, 2018

Why are people afraid of sharks?

  The question implies they shouldn't be," says David Ropeik, a consultant on risk perception and author of the book How Risky Is It, Really? Why Our Fears Don't Always Match the Facts.

  A fear of sharks, or galeophobia, is not irrational, says marine biologist Blake Chapman, a shark expert at the University of Queensland. Simply put, the predatory fish are scary. Great whites, for example—the species Hollywood immortalized as mindless killers—have mouths lined with several rows of up to 300 dagger-like teeth that can easily shred through prey. They can also sense tiny electromagnetic fields put out into water by other animals, which helps them scope out their next meal. 

  But we're not necessarily afraid of sharks upfront, and the animals are diverse. There are more than 465 known species of sharks, and they can range in>FollowVideoShark Attacks 101Shark attacks are shocking and scary, but how common are they? The truth is that shark attacks against humans are extremely rare, and you're more likely to die from drowning or from being struck by lightning. This video shows some of the reasons for shark attacks and how you can reduce your risk of becoming a target for sharks.loading...

  Rather, Ropeik says, we're terrified of how sharks could kill us. Being eaten alive by a 4.5-metre-long tiger shark seems like a painful way to suffer through death, and we dread the possibility that a shark attack could be the thing that kills us. 

  You're more likely to be crushed to death under a falling vending machine in your office, or a cow that collapses on you in a field than you are to die in the jaws of a shark. But fears don't necessarily match facts, and the fear of being attacked by a shark is more about our emotional response than the reality.

  Most of all, we're afraid of losing control. If you're swimming in shark-inhabited water, you don't want the jaws of a mysterious predator to clamp down on you and determine your fate. (Read: "Why Great White Sharks Are Still a Mystery to Us")

  "The>

Where did this fear come from?

  Fear is not necessarily something we're born with, but it's something we have developed over time. Infants aren't afraid of snakes and>

  But, oh boy, did our ancestors have a lot to be afraid of! Think back to how ancient people would have survived in their primitive habitats. They would have avoided tall cliffs and wild animals because they knew those threats could potentially kill them, and that's what kept them alive. They learned fear as an adaptation to protect themselves.

  "Fear is something that we've inherited from our early ancestors," Chapman says. "[Sharks] are an animal. Biological things like animals are something that we're very prone to fear."

Sharks still seem pretty scary. What are the chances they could kill me?

FollowPhotosSHARKS A TO Zloading...
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  In writing her book, Shark Attacks: Myths, Misunderstandings and Human Fear, Chapman found that the human brain tends to oversimplify numbers. If I tell you there's a one in 3,748,067 chance you could be attacked and killed by a shark, that number is too abstract for your brain to be sensitive to it. (If I tell you humans kill about 100 million sharks each year, it could be difficult to process that, as well.)

  The chances of you being eaten alive by a shark are highly unlikely. You're more likely to die by a dog attack, lightning strike, or car crash. Cancer and heart disease are also way more likely to kill you.

  The slim chances that a shark attack could happen to us are irrelevant. We hear of the word "shark" and we can't help but immediately fill in the blank after it with "attack."

  "While we can sense fear and we can interpret fear, the actual feeling of fear is completely outside of our control," Chapman says.

OK, but what can I do to fight my fear of sharks?

  There are a few ways you can make yourself less afraid of sharks. You can give yourself the illusion of control, because when you don't feel in control, things seem scarier.

  To do this, you can read up on what kinds of sharks live in the water you're about to swim in, or learn about which species of shark have been known to go after humans. (Pro tip: blacktip and spinner sharks sometimes mistake humans for prey.)

FollowVideoGreat White Shark Steals Camera, Goes on Wild RideFootage of a great white shark taking off with a research camera rig took scientists by surprise. Working with shark and ray research initiative Global FinPrint, a team from Massey University in New Zealand and other institutions were on an expedition in the Southwest Pacific where they deployed an underwater camera attached to a bait canister at several locations. At most stops on their route, shark sightings were low, possibly pointing toward overfishing. But when the scientists reviewed the video recorded off Rangitahua, or Kermadec Islands, they saw a great white shark pick up the whole apparatus, pausing to try to bite through the bait can. Even more remarkable, great white sharks are a rarity at the location, a positive note for the end of the expedition.loading...

  WATCH: A great white shark turns underwater videographer when it grabs a research camera rig in the Southwest Pacific.

  If you swim in clear water, you can give yourself the illusion of being in control if you did spot a shark. (Great whites can reach speeds 10 times faster than typical humans, so logically, if one of these sharks were to come toward you, you wouldn't have time to escape it. But it's more than likely they would spit you back out.)

  To avoid a shark attack, you can also learn how to not be shark bait by avoiding swimming if you're bleeding or lying on a surfboard. (Sharks commonly go after seals, and from below, a surfboard can look like a seal.) You can also avoid spear fishing, because skewering fish sends out electric signals that can attract sharks. 

  In the unlikely event that you are attacked by a shark, experts say it's best to fight back. Chapman recommends going for its eyes or gills if possible. If you can give yourself a sense of control, you feel like you're in less danger.

Why is it important we still care about sharks?

  Chapman says that yes, the number of shark attacks per year is increasing, but this isn't in line with the skyrocketing human population. Of the 80-odd shark attacks that happen each year, fatality rates are decreasing thanks to improving medicine and medical response time.

  It's difficult to count sharks, Chapman says, but it appears their numbers are decreasing. To meet the demand for shark fin soup, some fishermen in Asia will catch sharks, chop off their fins, and then>

  The animals are important to oceanic food chains, and sharks keep ecosystems in line. Studies have shown that shark populations can have an effect on sea grass composition and the presence of other animals in a habitat. Sharks are also being studied for cancer treatments and limb regeneration.

FollowVideoSee Divers Rescue Four Car-Sized SharksA team of divers freed four whale sharks trapped in fishing nets off the coast of Indonesia. Whale sharks are an endangered species and one of the largest fish on Earth. The four fish were juveniles, but adults can grow to be the>loading...

  The benefits of having sharks around far outweigh the negatives.

  "They are such survivors, they've evolved to basically survive under any stress," Chapman says.

  LEAD IMAGE: Great white sharks in the waters off the South Neptune Islands, Australia. PHOTOGRAPH BY BRIAN SKERRY, NAT GEO IMAGE COLLECTION



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