When sharks are attacking people in record numbers, as happened this past year, it makes sense to blame the sharks. That doesn’t make it fair, though. The International Shark Attack File on Monday reported an unprecedented number of unprovoked shark attacks worldwide, with 98 incidents — a whopping 26 more than the previous year and 40 more than the figure from one decade prior.

Does this mean sharks are getting less shy around humans? Increasing in number? Or becoming more aggressive? Not necessarily, according to the group that compiled the statistics. “The numerical growth in human-shark interactions does not necessarily mean there is an increase in the rate of shark attacks,” said the report from the ISAF, which is run through the Florida Museum of Natural History. “It most likely is a function of the growing human population.” READ MORE