Tuesday, June 13, 2006

New Shark Species Discovered

From National Geographic news:

A new species of hammerhead shark has been discovered off the coast of South Carolina. The newfound shark species, which has not yet been named, is nearly identical to the scalloped hammerhead, a common Atlantic shark that can grow up to 3 meters long.

Photo from National Geographic News

But the new species appears to be extremely rare—so much so that it may only breed in certain South Carolina bays. Biologists at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, discovered the new species while studying the DNA of scalloped hammerheads. The researchers found that some hammerheads they examined had a significantly different genetic signature from the rest, despite their similar appearance.

A separate team led by Joe Quattro at the University of South Carolina in Columbia came to the same conclusion while studying the state's coastal shark stocks.