The world’s largest fish, the whale shark, is in trouble. It has been listed as an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), but it is still threatened by overfishing and human-caused damage to the ocean environment. Scientists are also unsure how many of these school bus-sized animals are actually out there. Each whale shark has a different pattern of lines and spots behind its gills, almost like a fingerprint. So researchers adapted a piece of computer code originally developed to identify star patterns. The astronomical algorithm was developed in the 1980s by E.J. Groth and thanks to a few changes, can now identify the sharks by their spots.
Thanks for reading InsideHook. Sign up for our daily newsletter and be in the know.