Today’s Solutions: November 30, 2021

Whale sharks are remarkable creatures, known to be the largest fish on Earth. Such a grand title draws a lot of attention from tourists and marine life enthusiasts and this popularity means they are also at a higher risk of injury due to interactions with boats and people contending for a glimpse of these gentle giants in their natural habitat.

Fascinatingly enough, new research has revealed that whale sharks have the surprising ability to heal damaged tissues with impressive speed. Because whale sharks possess unique patterns on their skin, scientists can track individuals and monitor how each shark is recovering from wounds such as those that are a result of encounters with boats and humans.  

Freya Womersley, study lead from the research team at The University of Southampton, says that they were able to determine that the sharks can heal from grave injuries within weeks and months. Even more impressive, through this close monitoring scientists were able to document the whale shark’s ability to regrow severed dorsal fins for the first time, regenerating not only the tissue but the original markings and spots of the injured fin.

These findings suggest that whale sharks are more resilient to injuries than previously thought, but scientists assert that there are likely other negative effects of these injuries that aren’t as obvious, such as changes to foraging behaviors or weakened fitness levels.

Because of a wide collection of threats that are a direct result of human activity, whale sharks have experienced a significant decline in their population around the globe. Further studies such as these can help us gain a deeper understanding of the healing capabilities of whale sharks and sharks in general. Womersley hopes that they can continue their research to provide critical information that will aid in the conservation of species.

Solutions News Source Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

Popcorn may be the next sustainable building material

Popcorn is more than just a tasty snack to munch on while at the movies—it may soon be widely used as a natural and eco-friendly alternative to man made home insulation. Scientists at Göttingen University ... Read More

Want to get students engaged? Consider career-based classes

Students who are engaged in the classroom are more likely to participate and retain more information, but what exactly keeps kids engaged? Researchers from Ohio State University surveyed 20,000 high school students across the US ... Read More

This 3D-printed eye is an eye-conic development for digital prosthetics

According to Moorfields Eye Hospital in London, Steve Verze, a 47-year-old engineer from Hackney, has been the fortunate recipient of the world’s first 3D printed eyeball. He first tried the eye on for size earlier ... Read More

Senegal’s only circus troupe helps homeless children get off the streets

Senegal has exactly one circus troupe: Sencirk—and it was founded by a former child beggar named Modou Touré. Before taking his place as ringmaster of his own circus, Touré, at the age of seven, was ... Read More

New breakthroughs in nutrient-sensing cells

Did you know immune cells can sense nutrients? A new study from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has identified the biological mechanism behind the phenomenon. The type of immune cells with these special abilities are ... Read More

How to stay warm this winter during outdoor social gatherings

Temperatures are dipping and snowflakes are falling, but that doesn’t mean we have to say goodbye to our outdoor social gatherings. Plus, it might not always be safe to gather indoors, and everyone will have ... Read More