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Great white sharks may change color when hunting prey: study

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Great white sharks are among the most feared predators, and some groundbreaking new research conducted off the coast of South Africa suggests these incredible fish found along coastlines around the world can change their color to hunt their prey better.

Sounds terrifying, right?

Officials stress that while shark attacks on humans are rare, they do happen.

This is especially true in the northeastern United States. New York and New Jersey beaches have experienced a string of shark sightings and attacks this summer, putting beachgoers on edge. 

Since the unofficial start of summer during Memorial Day weekend, beach officials have used drones, helicopters and beach closures to prevent a potentially deadly shark encounter after at least five people have suffered shark bites.

Still, when you look past the fact that these torpedo-looking fish weigh between 1,500 and 4,000 pounds and are armed with hundreds of sharp, pointed, coarsely serrated teeth that can rip apart flesh and bone to swallow their food whole, they’re fascinating creatures.

Great White Shark
A new study says Great white sharks may change their color when hunting prey.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

For starters, great white sharks have seven senses, including all the senses we use as humans: hearing, smell, vision, touch and taste.

But they have two others that set them apart from the rest: lateral line and Lorenzini, which NOAA Fisheries says were discovered within the past 10 to 20 years.

The lateral line is a strip of sensory cells that runs along the shark’s body under its skin and can detect the slightest vibrations in the water. It is beneficial when hunting for food or if a potential predator is nearby.

According to SharkTrust.org, sharks also have a complex electro-sensory system aided by receptors that cover the shark’s head and snout that sit in jelly-filled sensory organs called the ampullae of Lorenzini. This helps the shark detect faint electrical fields such as those generated by the Earth or muscle contractions in their prey.

It’s also believed that the Earth’s geomagnetic field is thought to help sharks navigate the world’s oceans and migrate long distances so accurately, according to SharkTrust.org.

The sneak attack

Sharks usually ambush their prey by rushing from near the ocean floor to the surface to surprise their next meal and inflict a large, often fatal, bite. After the animal is lofted into the air, the shark will retreat and wait for the animal to fall back into the water, continuing its attack and devouring its food.

But wouldn’t animals know a shark lurks below them while they swim along? New research suggests that sometimes sharks may be able to change their color to blend in with their surroundings.

Great White Shark
There have been multiple shark sightings and attacks at New York beaches this summer.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

How is that possible? Gibbs Kuguru had the same thought.

Kuguru is a shark scientist and PhD student at Wageningen University and Research in the Netherlands and conducts research into the fish’s skin.

“I began my research on the skin of sharks when I heard about some sharks in the Maldives that had developed a very peculiar skin deformity called leucism,” Kuguru said.

Leucism is a skin condition that results in the loss of pigmentation.

“The presence of leucism raised many questions that led me to investigate the causes of the deformity, which taught me a lot about the make-ups of shark skin and the different adaptations they may have,” Kuguru said.

And during his time working at a cage diving company with great white sharks, he started thinking.

“I would often hear people gasp, ‘Whoa! That shark just changed color!’” Kuguru said. “Every time it happened, I questioned whether or not it was real or if our eyes were playing tricks on us. Together with my mentor, Ryan Johnson, we decided to put this fisherman’s tale to the test.”

That’s when Kuguru and Johnson designed the experiment to determine if great white sharks do indeed change color.

The pair headed to a shark hotspot off the coast of South Africa, where the experiments would take place.

They created a grayscale color board that would float in the water behind a boat and used a decoy food source to bait the great white sharks. As the sharks breached the surface, they would photograph them against the color board.

“The color board was a game changer when it came to observing differences in the shade of the animal,” Kuguru said. “Still, the technique we used to ‘track’ the sharks that were around any given day is an old one we still use. This technique is referred to as ‘photo ID.’”

Great White Shark
The study found that Great white shark’s skin definitively reacted to hormones.
Getty Images

Kuguru said the technique uses photos of sharks and their distinguishing features to identify ones that are continuously spotted near the boat.

“Sharks will usually stick around for some weeks, but occasionally, we get some highly residential great whites which we see over the years,” he said. “We normally give these sharks a name, and they are usually good candidates for tagging, depending on the project.”

Extraordinary find back at the lab

Tracking the sharks isn’t a simple task, though. Kuguru said his ability to locate great white sharks came from years of collaborative efforts between scientists, shark tour operators and local fishers.

“Without this, I would have never seen a single shark,” he said. “Once we found the sharks, it was up to me to get in the cage with my dart gun and get a tissue sample from the shark.”

Kuguru said the sharks would move fast, so gathering skin samples needs a steady hand.

“My shot has to be decisive in order to get the right tissue and also not to do harm to the shark,” he said.

Time was of the essence once the sample was collected.

“With the tissue samples from the sharks, we had to rush over to the laboratory in order to get confirmation that these sharks do indeed have the capability to modulate their color,” Kuguru said.

Back in the laboratory, testing was conducted on the shark’s skin.

“We did this by treating the skin with hormones that their skin cells would be sensitive to,” Kuguru said.

And the results were extraordinary.

“Interestingly, we not only found that the skin reacted to the hormones, but they did so in a strikingly, definitive way.”

The scientists watched as the shark’s skin would become darker when treated with one hormone, and would get lighter with another.

While this amazing discovery doesn’t fully determine whether great white sharks have the ability to camouflage themselves, it is an interesting find.

More studies and experiments will be completed to learn more about the exciting possibility.

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What Time Will ‘Riverdale’ Season 6 Be on Netflix?

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The season finale of Riverdale aired in late July on The CW. Notice we said season finale? Thankfully, the beloved series will return for a seventh season, but, unfortunately, Season 7 will be the final installment of Riverdale.

If you already streamed the current season, make sure to read Alex Zalben’s interview with Riverdale showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa on Decider. If you’re waiting to binge Season 6 on Netflix, well, you better clear your calendar because all 22 episodes are about to drop on the streamer. What time will the sixth season of Riverdale debut on Netflix? What time does Netflix release shows? Here’s everything you need to know.

WHEN IS THE RIVERDALE SEASON 6 NETFLIX RELEASE DATE?

Riverdale Season 6 premieres Sunday, August 7 on Netflix.

HOW MANY EPISODES ARE IN RIVERDALE SEASON 6?

The sixth season of Riverdale consists of 22 episodes.

WHAT TIME DOES NETFLIX RELEASE NEW SHOWS?

Netflix releases new episodes at 3:00 a.m. ET/12:00 a.m. PT.

WHAT TIME WILL RIVERDALE SEASON 6 BE ON NETFLIX?

Netflix is based out of California, so Riverdale Season 6 will be available to stream at 12:00 a.m. Pacific Standard Time (3:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time) beginning Sunday, August 7. If the clock strikes 12:00 (or 3:00 a.m. for folks on the East Coast) and you don’t see the new episodes, give it a moment, hit refresh, and then enjoy the show!

WILL THERE BE A SEASON 7 OF RIVERDALE?

Yes! Decider recently covered that very topic.

For further reading visit Source

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Actress Anne Heche Suffers Severe Burns After Crashing Car Into Los Angeles Home

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Actress Anne Heche, known for her roles in such films as Donnie Brasco, Volcano and I Know What You Did Last Summer, was involved in a fiery car crash in the Mar Vista area of Los Angeles on Friday.

According to TMZ, Heche was driving a blue Mini Cooper and had first crashed into the garage of an apartment complex. Residents of the apartment complex tried to get her out of the vehicle but she backed up and sped off.

Footage of Heche speeding down the streets of her neighborhood had been obtained by TMZ as well as her initial encounter at the apartment complex.

In the first clip, you can hear her car crash towards the end. It has been reported that the actress crashed into someone’s home, causing her vehicle and the house to erupt into flames. Heche suffered severe burns and was resisting being taken away in a stretcher. You can also view footage of this via the TMZ article.

It has not been confirmed whether alcohol has been involved in the incident since her condition prevents doctors from performing any tests to determine if she was driving under the influence. She is currently intubated in the hospital but expected to live.

For further reading visit Source

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These are the vulgar license-plate requests the DMV has rejected

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Stay CL4SSY, New York!

The state Department of Motor Vehicles nixed 3,752 requests for vanity license plates in the last three years because it deemed them too raunchy, radical or simply ridiculous.

New York’s personalized plates go for $60 initially, and then $31.25 annually for renewal. You can get any plate as long as no one else has it and it’s not offensive.

Odds are a request for a plate that marks a wedding anniversary or shows your allegiance to a team — like METS86 — will pass muster with the DMV gatekeepers.

Vulgarity won’t get you to first base.

So plates with the phrase LFGM — the acronym for Pete Alonso’s “Let’s F–king Go Mets” rallying cry — did not make the cut.

And you won’t see anyone driving around with the custom plates MILFDAD, AS5M4N and WLHUNG.

Crude meanings such as “MILFDAD” are unacceptable by the DMV.
Crude meanings such as “MILFDAD” are unacceptable by the DMV.
New York DMV
NYC123
New York state Department of Motor Vehicles denied more than 3.5 thousand requests for license plates deemed inappropriate.
New York DMV
“AS5M4N” was rejected for referring to “Ass man.”
“AS5M4N” was rejected for referring to “Ass man.”
New York DMV

The DMV also put NICEBUNS, FATFANNY, GOTAPOOP and BENDOVER in the rear-view mirror.

One player unsuccessfully tried to score the plate YESDADDY, to no avail.

The DMV also shot down such dark requests as DEADGIRL, GENOC1DE, S8TAN, DETONATE and MURDERM3.

“SUM8ITCH” is not allowed.
“SUM8ITCH” is not allowed.
New York DMV
The DMV thoroughly nixed a request for “CNNLIES.”
The DMV thoroughly nixed a request for “CNNLIES.”
New York DMV
BOOBIE is prohibited.
BOOBIE is prohibited.
New York DMV

Getting political is a dead end too — FJOEBIDN, FDTRUMP and CNNLIES were nixed.

LUDEDUDE, NARCO, GOT METH and BLUNT also went up in smoke.

Staten Island attorney Bill Dertinger said his blue 1995 Jaguar SJS was tagged with ESQLTD after his company and his 2014 Porsche had the plate GHOSTGTS because the sleek sportscar was white.

“The plates can make you stand out — which can be a curse or a blessing,” the 54-year-old Dertinger said. “Make sure you don’t cut anybody off.”

A man attempted to sneak in “YESDADDY” onto his license plate.
A man attempted to sneak in “YESDADDY” onto his license plate.
New York DMV
The DMV stopped a request for “FJOEBIDEN.”
The DMV stopped a request for “FJOEBIDEN.”
New York DMV
The DMV also rejects any license plates referring to politics.
The DMV also rejects any license plates referring to politics.
New York DMV

There must be a New York Jets fan playing referee at the DMV because a request for the seemingly innocent plate GASE was sidelined. Ex-Jets head coach Adam Gase had an offensive 9-23 win-loss record during his forgettable two-year tenure.

The DMV would not reveal who gives the final yea or nay.

“The DMV reviews all custom license plate requests and works hard to ensure that any combinations that may be considered objectionable are rejected,” said agency spokesman Tim O’Brien.

“GLOCKS” referring to guns is not accepted by the DMV.
“GLOCKS” referring to guns is not accepted by the DMV.
New York DMV
“FLYMOFO” is not approved by the DMV.
“FLYMOFO” is not approved by the DMV.
New York DMV

He said guidelines on what plate combinations are restricted can be found on the DMV website: https://dmv.ny.gov/learn-about-personalized-plates. Approximately 50,000 personalized and custom plates are sold per year, O’Brien said.

Bagged Tags

The state DMV has rejected 3,752 requests for custom license plates in the last three years because it deemed them potentially offensive. Here are some:

YESDADDY

FJOEBIDN

FDTRUMP

GLOCKS

FLYMOFO

BOOBIE

AS5M4N

BUDLIGHT

DEADGIRL

SUM8ITCH

GENOC1DE

S8TAN

CNNLIES

DETONATE

MURDERM3

MILFDAD

WLHUNG

Source: NYS DMV

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