Scientists Find Dozens of New Hybrid Sharks

The animals are the first hybrid sharks in the world
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 3, 2012 8:36 AM CST
Scientists Find Dozens of New Hybrid Sharks
A blacktip shark, Carcharhinus limbatus, is shown in this March 2008 file photo in the Indian Ocean off Aliwal Shoal, South Africa.   (AP Photo/Institute for Ocean Conservation Science/Matthew D. Potenski)

Shark Week will have some new additions this year: Scientists found the first hybrid sharks in the world—57 of them—off the coast of Australia. The animals are a cross between the Australian blacktip shark and the common blacktip shark, and their existence may show that sharks are adapting to climate change, CNN reports. While such interbreeding occurs among fish, which lay eggs, it's more deliberate among sharks, which physically mate, notes a scientist.

Another researcher notes that the discovery could also mean that other shark and ray species are doing the same inter-breeding. DNA testing confirmed the hybridization of the sharks, and further testing will determine their fitness. "Wild hybrids are usually hard to find, so detecting hybrids and their offspring is extraordinary. To find 57 hybrids along (1,200 miles) of coastline is unprecedented," the researcher says. (More sharks stories.)

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