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CA 'Shark Census' Reveals Fewer Great Whites than Expected

Photo by Lord Jim via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr
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For those among us who watched "Jaws" at too young an age and have lingering terror about the ocean because of it, some good news: researchers at UC Davis found that there are fewer great white sharks living off the California coast than they expected. According to the Daily News, biologists navigated small boats into waters believed to be heavily populated by great whites and counted 131 grown or near-grown sharks, by taking identifying pictures of each animal's unique dorsal fin. They then used a statistical model to conclude that there are approximately 219 between Bodega Bay and Monterey in the fall, when the research was done.

The figure is still just a best guess, though, reports the Daily News:

"This estimate only represents a single point in time," said Taylor Chapple, who led the study as a doctoral student at the University of California, Davis. "Further research will tell us if this number represents a healthy, viable population, or one critically in danger of collapse, or something in between."