While fear of sharks often refers to situations underwater, we are now facing concerns on land. Scientists have recently discovered a new shark species which can walk on land. First spotted in Southern Australia, this is a puzzling discovery that is set to undergo further investigation. Here's what we know so far.
Down south in Australia, in the Great Barrier Reef, various shark species are found underwater. The latest discovery has scientists taken back, and not just by the "outgoing tide." The new shark species is called Epaulette sharks. Due to different habitats and tidal changes, these sharks become trapped in shallow rock pools. Their only chance of survival is adapting in a way that makes them equipped for land. They can last up to two hours without oxygen and have mastered a "crawling motion" to survive out of water. This miraculous discovery has completely changed the way scientists, as well as marine biologists, witness such creatures. Statements from Florida Atlantic University declared this as a way of "breaking rules of survival."
Confirmations further state these sharks don't just need to crawl on land but can also find ways of survival on worms, small fish, and crustaceans, but most importantly, not humans. Though they were first spotted in the wild waters of Southern Australia, the walking shark can be found in other areas around Australia, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea. Regarding how their sea-like features have managed to adapt to land, it comes down to the shark's "early development." The sharks start by surviving from an "internalized yolk sac," unlike older and more traditional sharks who "forage for their own food." These yolk sacs provide a different and larger type of belly for the sharks, yet scientists have confirmed this would not affect their swimming/walking pace. Though, these sharks have other routines when it comes to prey. Dr. Marianne E. Porter, senior author of the study, has stated, "Studying epaulette shark locomotion allows us to understand this species," even related species. It seems their capabilities have been "challenged" by different environmental states as they have been identified to "avoid aerial and aquatic predators."
Further investigation into these mysterious walking sharks will confirm whether their aquatic and land survival will affect climate change in the foreseeable future. Scientists are constantly making new discoveries. Yet, a whole new world of questions is unlocked when it comes to sea creatures challenging human nature and their survival. The new walking shark species might contribute to our earth's natural nature. Stay tuned.