Science

In Indonesia discovered a new species of "walking" shark

In an epic 12-year research effort, an worldwide team of scientists has discovered four species of "walking sharks", nearly doubling the known species count of these rare and gifted animals.

But no need to worry about sharks stalking you on land - these freaky predators are completely harmless to humans.

"We believe that more and more walking shark species are waiting to be discovered", she said. Four new species have been observed now, raising the total number to nine - in a remarkable example of convergent evolution.

Dr. Dungeon continued his explanations as follows; "The genetic data we obtained indicate that the newly discovered walking shark species broke off from the shark populations they originally belonged to and evolved into a new species in a different region".

The University of Queensland also thinks there mare more species of "walking shark" yet to be discovered, says Dr Dudgeon. "A global recognition of the need to protect walking sharks will help ensure they thrive providing benefits for marine ecosystems and to local communities through the sharks' value as tourism assets", Mark Erdmann, a co-author of the paper from Conservation International, said in a press release.

More news: Trump and Thunberg clash over climate at World Economic Forum

The idea of a walking shark may sound like an apocalyptic sequel to Sharknado brought to life, but at a length of just three feet, small predators are not a horror show. Hemiscyllum is now officially the newest phylum of sharks on Earth (9 million years old is pretty new when it comes to things like this), and they been able to adapt their fins to double as proto-legs when the tide gets too low.

Hemiscyllum species like the epaulette shark aren't monsters with mouths full of knives. The study cited factors like changing sea levels, emerging landforms, the appearance of reefs, and the dissemination of sharks to new locations as important drivers in their evolutionary development. Even weirder is that new species are supposedly still emerging in this phylum (more on that later).

The species can survive with very little oxygen for up to an hour.

The rich biodiversity can partially be explained by tectonic plate movement during the Miocene epoch (circa 23.03 to 5.3 million years ago), which is thought to have completed Australia and New Guinea's move north after its breakaway from the supercontinent Gondwana. The worldwide group of scientists who have been working on the study for more than a decade, published their findings in the multidisciplinary journal Marine and Freshwater Research. Other sharks in this genus could very well be added to this list soon.



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