Lemon Sharks Return to Their Birthplace to Have Babies


Observation of Lemon Sharks in the Bahamas suggest that females somehow remember where they were born and return to this spot to give birth to their offspring after years of wandering the ocean. Salmon and sea turtles are known to do the same thing, but this is the first time scientists were able to get proof that Lemon Sharks do the same thing.The sharks apparently leave the safety of their parents somewhere between 5-8 years old, and will have kids up to a decade later and will still remember how to get back to this spot.

Scientists were able to observe the sharks so closely because a lagoon in Bimimi was similar to a lake that allowed researchers to capture and tag a large percentage of the sharks. Samuel Gruber, the leader of the project, called it a "unique opportunity" because they were able to tag so many of the sharks. Sharks are hard to study when it comes to reproductive behavior because they take a long time to mature and that is why this question went a while without being able to be answered.

I think this article is interesting because any behavior in less-intelligent beings is usually a result of evolution, especially if all the animals of that species take part in the ritual. This kind of thing always makes me wonder what exactly caused this behavior on the evolutionary timeline of the species. There must have been an occurrence that made the sharks believe that returning to their birthplace would give them a better chance of survival. Maybe the lemon sharks were operating with the logical mindset that if they were able to survive to the point of reproduction, their birthplace is a good and safe place for their offspring to do the same.

This kind of behavior can also tell us something about the sharks' intellectual capacity, like if they are able to understand logic and what not. It is very interesting to look at a small piece of information like this and using it with our knowledge of evolution to see if we can make more inferences about the species. We can also start to make different hypotheses with regards to the Lemon Shark's memory as well. I know us humans would be unable to remember what hospital we were born at by the time we were having kids in order to return to the same hospital. It is not the same situation by any means but this information does infer that the Lemon Shark may be able to remember things earlier in their life than humans do, as most of us could not remember the first couple years of our life at all.  

This is an interesting article not because it is awe-inspiring that these lemon sharks return to their birthplace to give birth, but all the other things we can learn about the species from this little piece of information. The mind is a very complex and thought-provoking topic, and comparing animals' thought processes with those of humans can tell us a lot about how we differ from them exactly.


it would be interesting to see if the specific biological mechanism for lemon sharks is the same as the one for salmon cause i am pretty sure they do the same thing. It is probably likely because they are both fish. Do you think it could be some sort of internal compass?

Taylor, it'd be neat to see if that was true but even then I think memory still plays the main role because they have to navigate themselves back there and a compass is merely a tool to see which way to start heading.

So what you are saying is that you think the lemon sharks are remembering their each and every turn and not simply sensing the directing of their birth place? Also, i found an article explaining how salmon find their way home apparently they use a magnetic field?

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