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4 new species of walking sharks discovered - video

The scientific world has identified 4 new species of walking sharks. These unusual and adorable animals have been discovered and studied in the waters of Australia and New Guinea. But what are walking sharks anyway? They are small creatures, measuring less than 1m, that through evolution have adapted their fins to move in a way
Published: February 6, 2020 - 14:15
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 19:16
4 new species of walking sharks discovered – video

The scientific world has identified 4 new species of walking sharks. These unusual and adorable animals have been discovered and studied in the waters of Australia and New Guinea. But what are walking sharks anyway? They are small creatures, measuring less than 1m, that through evolution have adapted their fins to move in a way more characteristic of mammals than fish.

What’s more, the species studied are not only adept at navigating the seabed and shallow waters, but can also cope on land! On top of this, scientists assure us that they are completely harmless, and the longer you interact with them, the more adorable they seem.

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“They’re incredibly cute little animals and really resemble a gecko more than a shark,” said Mark Erdmann, an ecologist with the California Academy of Sciences and vice president of the Asia-Pacific Field Division of Conservation International

Erdmann was part of a team of scientists who spent 12 years studying walking sharks. The results of their work were recently published in the prestigious scientific journal Marine and Freshwater Research. The research has also expanded the family of walking sharks from five to nine species.

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According to journalists at Science Alert magazine, all walking sharks belong to the genus Hemiscyllium and have evolved in this particular way to succeed in their unique coral reef environment, where they can hunt at low tide.

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“Measuring less than a metre on average, walking sharks pose no threat to humans and their ability to withstand low oxygen levels and walk using their fins gives them a remarkable advantage over prey of various crustaceans and molluscs,” said Dr Christine Dudgeon of the University of Queensland, co-author of the study

DNA tests also showed that the species studied are the youngest representatives of sharks on the planet. The researchers also stressed that there are certainly many more species of walking sharks, as these fish are specific to the small area in which they evolved and are closely related to it.

Source: Marine and Freshwater Research, University of Queensland

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About author

Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
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