Sharks’ hunting paths may not be driven by math


Tuna and other ocean predators may appear to follow a precise mathematical strategy to hunt because they hit rough water, simulations suggest.

Takashi Hososhima/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0

Sharks, penguins and other marine hunters have been shown to use math to find food. However, new simulations suggest that the animals appear to move in a strict mathematical pattern called a Lévy walk because they hit rough water. The movement patterns could therefore be a “fortuitous accident” rather than a result of natural selection, Rothamsted Research scientist Andrew Reynolds writes September 17 in the Proceedings of the Royal Society A.

Ashley Yeager is the associate news editor at Science News. She has worked at The Scientist, the Simons Foundation, Duke University and the W.M. Keck Observatory, and was the web producer for Science News from 2013 to 2015. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and a master’s degree in science writing from MIT.

More Stories from Science News on Math