Why they usually swim away after taking a quick bite…

Researchers believe they have discovered one of the reasons why most shark attacks in Australian waters are aborted after a single bite.

A 2010 study by team of scientists from Australia and the USA, published in the Journal of Biomechanics, shows that although the jaw muscles of adolescent great white sharks can exercise incredible bite forces, the jaws themselves may be too weak to capture and kill large animals, including humans.

Co-author Dr Vic Peddemors, of the Cronulla Fisheries Research Centre, says the study may explain why many of the shark attacks off the NSW coast are aborted after a single exploratory bite.

“The great whites involved are usually juveniles that might sustain jaw injury if they persevered with the attack,” he says.

Most shark attacks are carried out by young sharks that are still testing their environment and aren’t yet sure what they can eat. But why they usually swim away after taking a quick bite hadn’t been clear.

More here from ABC Science pages

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