Sharks are more Gums than Jaws and ignore folk swimming past them on a daily basis, boffins have found.
A study of so-called “killer” great whites found the predators came within biting distance of humans on 97% of surveyed days in the Pacific.
But not one of them attacked.
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On most occasions, surfers, paddleboarders and swimmers did not even know they were there.
Researchers used drones to monitor the water where the pointy-toothed predators "aggregate" in groups near beaches before they reach maturity and become more solitary.
Graduate student Patrick Rex, who conducted the two-year study for California State University Long Beach, said: “The juveniles were often observed within 50 yards of where the waves break, putting surfers and stand-up paddleboarders in the closest proximity to sharks at the aggregation sites.
“Most of the time water users didn’t even know the sharks were there, but we could easily see them from the air.’’
Marine experts hope the shock analysis will change the man-eating stigma attached to the world’s estimated 100 million sharks.
Most of their bad press stemmed from Steven Spielberg’s 1975 movie Jaws in which a great white terrorised the fictional US town of Amity Island.
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Marine biology professor Christopher Lowe said: “I think people will be shocked by these findings.
“We never expected to see so many encounters every day with no incidents.
“This study may change perceptions of the risk sharks pose to people that share the ocean with them.’
Fish biologist Culum Brown, from Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, said: “Your toaster is more likely to kill you than a shark.”
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