Planet Earth

How Great White Sharks Accidentally Wandered Into the Mediterranean

80beatsBy Andrew MosemanNov 17, 2010 4:00 PM

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From Ed Yong

When Chrysoula Gubili from the University of Aberdeen compared the DNA of white sharks from around the world, she found a big surprise. The great white is the most genetically diverse shark studied so far but the Mediterranean fish are only distantly related to nearby populations in the North-West Atlantic, or even in South Africa. Their closest kin actually live half a world away in the Indo-Pacific waters of Australia and New Zealand....

Gubili thinks that the European population was set up by a single founding female who got lost. Female great whites undergo long migrations of thousands of kilometres, but they tend to return to the place where they were born. However, it’s possible that some individuals lose the bearings on these monster treks. These navigational problems rarely amount to anything. But if the wayward female is pregnant, she might end up setting up an entirely new splinter group in a far-off corner of the world.

Read the rest of this post at DISCOVER blog Not Exactly Rocket Science

. Related Content: Not Exactly Rocket Science: Prehistoric Great White Shark Had Strongest Bite in History

80beats: In Stereo: Hammerhead Sharks Have Human-Like Vision

80beats: The Secret Lives and Loves of Great White Sharks

Image: flickr / hermanusbackpackers

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