Scientists Put Cameras on Sharks—and the View Is as Cool as It Sounds

Enjoy a shark's POV from the safety of your living room couch.
Mar 6, 2014·
Kristina Bravo is Assistant Editor at TakePart.

For those of you fretting that Shark Week is still more than 150 days away, here’s something to tide you over: Scientists at the University of Hawaii and the University of Tokyo have attached cameras to a shiver of sharks off the coast of Hawaii.

The resultant footage answers some of shark experts’ most pressing questions: What do sharks do for fun? And do they hang out with a diverse group of pals, or do they stick to a single clique?

Turns out some sharks like to flirt—at one point in the video, a male sandbar shark shimmies nearer a female passerby. And tiger sharks love to bully other sharks, causing their “smaller peers” to travel in mixed-shark groups to avoid predation, much as “herding animals like gazelles stay together for protection against hungry lions,” reports the Los Angeles Times.

To affix the camera, scientists relied on “tonic immobility,” in which a shark goes into a calm daze after it is flipped on its back. The scientists then attached the camera and quickly turned the shark right side up before it awakened.

The footage improves our understanding of sharks so much that the study’s lead marine biologist, Carl Meyer, is hatching a sequel: He’s devising an “electronic pill” to smuggle inside a small fish destined for a shark’s belly, which will enable scientists to learn more about sharks’ prandial practices, such as what and when they eat and just how much it takes to satisfy their beastly appetites.