When you think of baby sharks, you probably think of the terrifying size of the animal, but a new study suggests the species may also be a boon for children.
The study, published in the journal Animal Behaviour, found that baby sharks were more popular in a community that had been taught about the dangers of tooth-eating bacteria.
“The baby shark’s teeth are not very sharp, so you don’t need to be particularly sharp to eat them,” study researcher Jennifer LeBlanc told CNN.
“They can also be quite easy to catch because they don’t have any teeth at all.”
The researchers found that people who learned about tooth-eaters’ deadly habits were more likely to choose the more healthy option, such as giving the shark a bite.
The research also found that children were more inclined to give the shark bites, because they had heard about tooth disease in their families.
“These findings indicate that the presence of tooth disease may have influenced our decision to provide the shark bite,” the researchers wrote.
“This suggests that the more tooth-infected a child is, the more likely they are to choose to give a bite to a shark.”
LeBlanc said the findings suggested the tooth-disease risk is not something to avoid at all costs.
“I think there’s an element of truth to that,” she said.
“We know that when you have a child with tooth disease, they’re more likely than the general population to choose their preferred tooth-prevention method.”
The research was based on a community-based study in the United States.
Researchers said the community was given instructions on how to avoid the harmful bacteria from eating babies and toddlers.
The information was based upon a group of adults in the community who were told to avoid eating any baby shark teeth for at least two weeks, and to feed them exclusively with baby shark or seal food.
“It’s a bit like when you go out in public, and you see a shark in a public place and you say ‘I’m not going to go out that way,'” study researcher LeBlac said.
The researchers also provided information about the health risks of the bacteria and their frequency.
LeBlac and her colleagues also used the community’s experience to determine which of the adults in their study chose to give their children tooth-based bites.
“There were a lot of people who were reluctant to give this bite because they thought it was bad for them, and that this would make them uncomfortable,” LeBlance said.
She said the results suggested the fear of a tooth-borne infection was also linked to giving the bite.
“If you’ve had the disease, you’ve been told that tooth disease is the worst thing that can happen to you,” Leblanc said.
Leblanc and her co-authors also found some of the community members who gave the bite were more aware of the risk of a child getting infected with tooth-causing bacteria than the others.
“That suggests that people were also aware of how dangerous tooth-feeding could be, and this could have led to a reluctance to do so,” LeBanc said, adding that the community in which the bite was given may have been less likely to give tooth-bite bites.
Researchers also found people in the study who had been told about tooth decay in the family were less likely than others to give bites.
The findings suggested that community members were more willing to give an infected child a bite than those who weren’t told about the risk.
“In general, people in communities that have been taught to be wary of the effects of tooth decay have also been less inclined to provide a bite,” LeBrea said.
Topics:human-interest,children,human-behaviour,science-and-technology,environment,environmental-impact,cafe-nest-beach-4870,nsw,australiaFirst posted November 09, 2019 19:34:39Contact Jacqueline ClementsMore stories from Australia