"It shows you how wild it is off our west coast of North America. This is Yellowstone," said Stanford University marine sciences professor Barbara A. Block, who co-wrote the paper.
By tracking their movements, scientists determined that the fearsome predators make such precise, regular migrations each year between the California coast and the Hawaiian islands that they have become genetically distinct from their counterparts on the other side of the Pacific.
The fact that "a major concentration" of great whites can ignore the humans who might have crossed their path there "shows us the sharks are really minding their own business. The number of interactions with people is very small, considering," said Stanford University post-doctoral scholar Salvador J. Jorgensen, the paper's lead writer.