It is unlikely that many of us saw sharks live, butthanks to the documentaries, we are well aware of their bloodthirstiness and ability to swim quickly. But did you know that there are sharks safe for humans in the world that use their fins to walk along the seabed? These amazing animals are called "walking sharks" and scientists from time to time manage to discover new subspecies of these predators. For example, one of them was discovered in 2013 on the shores of Indonesia - a shark no more than 120 centimeters in length was called Hemiscyllium halmahera. Now, scientists have learned about the existence of four more varieties of these sharks that live in tropical waters between Australia and New Guinea.
About unusual sharks were told in the scientifica publication called Marine and Freshwater Research. New species of marine predators were discovered during a 12-year scientific work, so it’s easy to guess that they are very rare creatures and to meet them in nature is a great success. According to Australian biologist Kristin Dudzhen, all new sharks belong to the species Hemiscyllium and grow in length no more than one meter. They do not pose a threat to humans, but actively hunt small crustaceans and mollusks.
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Sharks that can walk
The hunt for new species of sharks probably goes verywell. The fact is that unlike white sharks and other predators, they do not swim in the usual sense of the word. They have rather large fins and use them instead of legs for walking along the seabed. Consequently, they spend most of the time at great depths and remain invisible to the remaining aquatic inhabitants. Such secrecy helps them quickly and efficiently hunt sedentary animals.
Until now, scientists were aware of the existence ofonly five sharks of the species Hemiscyllium. Thanks to the discovery of four new varieties, scientists were able to almost double their knowledge about these unusual creatures. In a study of the DNA of aquatic predators, researchers were able to discover that “walking sharks” existed even in the late Cretaceous about 100 million years ago. Then on our planet large reptiles and dinosaurs up to 8 meters high were very common.
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How exactly did unusual sharks arise, scientistsis unknown. However, they suggest that the new species learned to walk along the bottom, trying to adapt to new conditions for them. Perhaps at some point in time, some sharks lost the opportunity to consume the usual meat and were forced to start hunting for mollusks and crustaceans. It was difficult to hunt them and evolution provided predators with large fins, which can play the role of full legs for walking.
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Be that as it may, scientists are sure that there are several more species of such sharks in the world. It is likely that at the moment they simply did not open them, because they lead a very secretive lifestyle.