Answer to Map #57

Click here for a full-size version of this week’s map.

Back to this week’s maps and hints.

Answer: This week’s map was a dot map depicting all shark attacks against humans in North America so far in 2017.

This map depicts both fatal and non-fatal shark attacks. Most shark attacks are relatively minor; indeed, some of the incidents recorded on this map involve sharks biting kayaks or surfboards, but not actually biting humans. Only one of the dots on this map represents a fatal attack. On May 5, 2017, a man was killed while snorkeling off Cabo Pulmo in the southern part of the Gulf of California.

This map relies on the incident log of the Global Shark Attack File. This source keeps track of all reported shark attacks from around the world, including those outside North America. That means that it has a lot of entries for Australia and South Africa, two countries that have a particularly serious problem with sharks. But there are also lots of shark attacks in more obscure places, including New Caledonia and Réunion. There was even a fatal attack earlier this year off Réunion.

In the U.S, most shark attacks occur in places with nice beaches. That’s because sharks like warm water and because people are more likely to swim away from shore in the vicinity of a beach. Hilton Head, South Carolina, has had four shark attacks so far this year. The state of Florida, which has lots of warm water and nice beaches, has had the most attacks of any state.

It is important to remember that not all shark attacks are the fault of the shark. The Global Shark Attack File distinguishes between attacks that are “provoked” and those that are “unprovoked.” People seem to like to put themselves in dangerous situations that disturb the natural habitats of sharks. Why would anybody attempt to lasso a shark? What is wrong with people?

Next map: Click here to try out our newest map question.