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[Animals] Marine animals swim in circles, and scientists don't know why


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In future studies, researchers would like to examine the animals' movements in relation to their internal state and environmental conditions in search of more clues and conclusions about the causes of turning.


Female Shark Eats Male Shark At Aquarium In Seoul SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - JANUARY 29: In this handout photo released by the COEX Aquarium, Sand tiger shark with a Banded hound shark in its mouth at COEX Aquarium on January 29, 2016 in Seoul, South Korea. The female sand tiger shark measuring 7.2 ft, ate a male banded hound shark 3.9 ft at the COEX Aquarium. According to the statement by the aquarium PR, sharks sometimes bite other sharks out of astonishment when they bump into them in their own territory. (Photo by COEX Aquarium via Getty Images)

Green sea turtles, sharks, whales, penguins and marine mammals have mysterious behaviour, and they all do something unusual, swimming in circles when you don't expect it.

According to an international team of researchers, there is no logical reason to do so, and they tried to answer this question in their study published in the "iScience" journal on March 18.

And after recent technological developments enabled researchers to track the movements of large animals that live in the oceans with great accuracy, by recording data that can be represented in a three-dimensional way, and reconstructing the movements of marine animals in spatio-temporal scales in meters and seconds, researchers used this technology in an attempt to find explanation of the phenomenon.


Find a good reason
The team first discovered these mysterious turning behaviors in green turtles, which were tracked by 3D data recorders. Then they realized that various other species of marine animals showed almost the same circular motions.

This discovery is partly surprising, and the researchers say that it is surprising. Because swimming in a straight line is the most efficient method of locomotion, they point out that there must be a good reason for the animals to turn.

They speculated that swimming in circles might help animals find food, be part of a mating ritual, or help animals detect the magnetic fields they use to navigate.

"We found that a large group of large marine animals showed similar circular behavior, as the animals were running in a row at a relatively constant speed more than twice," Tomoko Narazaki of the University of Tokyo told Scimex. . It is suggested that there must be a good reason for the animals to turn around.

Similar circling movements observed across marine megafauna taxa
Examples of circular movements recorded in many species of animals and marine mammals (social networking sites)
Just like a machine
Narazaki's team first discovered the enigmatic behaviors of rotation in oriented green turtles during a displacement experiment. The team moved turtle nests from one place to another to study their navigational abilities. "Honestly, I had my eyes peeled when I first saw the data, because the turtle is constantly spinning, just like a machine," Narazaki said.


Similar circling movements observed across marine megafauna taxa

"When I returned to my lab, I informed my colleagues of this interesting discovery and suggested that they use the same 3D data loggers to study a wide variety of megafauna species." What happened next surprised the researchers even more. They realized that different types of marine animals showed roughly the same circular motions.

Narazaki's team reported that some circling events were recorded in the animals' foraging areas; Which suggests that it may have some benefit in finding food. For example, a total of 272 cyclic events were observed in 4 tiger sharks tagged off Hawaii.

However, fur seals have been found circling mainly during the day although they feed mainly at night. Other events in the circling also seemed unrelated to foraging. For example, they saw a male tiger shark circling a female for courtship, and evidence suggests that circling may play some role in navigation in the case of sea turtles.

"What amazed me most was that the guided turtles circled at locations that seemed to be important from a navigational point of view, such as just before the final approach to their target," Narazaki says.


Similar circling movements observed across marine megafauna taxa

Similar circling movements observed across marine megafauna taxa
Tracks of green turtles recorded using GPS technology (social networking sites)
imposed restrictions
It is possible that spinning helps animals detect magnetic fields for navigation; But rotation can also serve more than one purpose. Researchers say that studying such subtle movements, including rotation, in more marine species may reveal important behaviors that were previously ignored.

The researchers admit that their study lacks information about the surrounding environment such as landscapes, landmarks, and the presence of other individuals of the same and/or other species. Simultaneous analysis of high-resolution 3D movements and videotaped recordings of animals may be useful for examining circulatory movements in the context of social interactions and/or prey capture.

In future studies, researchers would like to examine the animals' movements in relation to the animals' internal state and environmental conditions, in search of more clues and to draw clear conclusions about the causes of circling.




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