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    Lemon Sharks Return Home to Give Birth

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    Geo Beats

    by Geo Beats

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    After 17 years of following migratory lemon sharks around, scientists have learned that when it’s time to give birth the females return to the spot where they themselves were born.

    After 17 years of following migratory lemon sharks around, scientists have learned that when it’s time to give birth the females return to the spot where they themselves were born.

    The study began in 1995 at a lagoon off the Bimini Islands in the Bahamas.

    Scientists picked the site upon realizing that not only was it popular among lemon sharks, it offered easy opportunities to catch, tag, and release nearly every shark born there.

    Between 1995 and 1998 they were able to outfit hundreds of shark babies with tracking devices.

    Sadly, only a relative handful of them survived into adulthood.

    Among the dozen that did, at least half of them returned to their place of birth to have their litters between the ages of 14 and 17.

    While they were waiting out the incredibly long maturation process of the sharks, the researchers analyzed DNA samples taken over the duration of their research.

    They say it’s possible that the instinct to return is encoded in the maternal genetic material.

    The scientists feel their results will be helpful in the consideration of closing the birthing areas to fishing.