Walking Sharks Discovered


An international team of scientists recently discovered four new species of shark near the shallow coasts of northern Australia and New Guinea. The 12-year study conducted by Conservation International along with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Florida Museum of Natural History, USA, Indonesian Institute of Sciences and Indonesian Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries showed that the newly discovered sharks are a type of ‘walking shark’. These new species are said to be evolved versions of their ancestors and use their fins to walk across coral reefs and shallow waters rather than to swim. This unique trait can also be found in bamboo sharks, their close relatives, and wobbegongs, a type of carpet shark. This discovery takes the number of known walking shark species to nine. Walking sharks are close to 3ft long and their body has the unique ability to adapt to environments with low oxygen. According to the researchers, when the sharks abandoned their original population and became genetically isolated in new areas, they evolved into this new small mollusc- and crustacean-eating species.