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First Hybrid Sharks Found off Australia

First Hybrid Sharks Found off Australia

A surprise finding off the coast of Australia came when marine scientists found several generations of naturally occurring hybrid sharks.  Hybrids happening in nature are well documented, but never before in sharks.  The cause is hypothesized as global warming.

“This is evolution in action,” said University of Queensland lead researcher Jess Morgan.  The two breeds that hybridized are the Australian Blacktip shark (Carcharhinus tilstoni) and the common Blacktip (Carcharhinus limbatus); they are related but genetically distinct.

The hybrids were observed at five different locations throughout 2,000 kilometers (1,242 miles) of eastern Australia coastline.

The Australian blacktip favors tropical waters in the north white the common blacktip is found in the sub-tropical waters of south-eastern Australia. “Hybridization could enable the sharks to adapt to environmental change,” said University of Queensland researcher Jennifer Ovenden.

Identification of the hybrids was determined through DNA studies.  Scientists report the 57 individual hybrid sharks discovered are healthy and robust and span several generations.  This is a significant finding because it shows the first generation hybrids went on to reproduce.

Hybrids occur more commonly in fish because their eggs are fertilized in the water.  But sharks mate through internal fertilization, like mammals.

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104 comments

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6:22AM PDT on Apr 13, 2014

Hybrids & Genetic Modification, 'mans' Corruption of Life!

Romans 8

¶ 8:21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of YHWH.

2:02AM PDT on Aug 3, 2012

cool

12:41PM PDT on Aug 2, 2012

Wow- fascinating article!

8:09AM PDT on Apr 21, 2012

Thanks. It's interesting to see evolution happening before our eyes.

5:15AM PDT on Mar 29, 2012

Note: it is *hypothesized* as global warming. A hypothesis still requires proof.
What are the odds these hybrids might also be the result of over-fishing, resulting in fewer sharks thus making it more likely that unlike species would mate?

7:52PM PST on Jan 25, 2012

wow

12:48AM PST on Jan 23, 2012

Good ole Global warming does it again.

10:04AM PST on Jan 22, 2012

interesting article, thanks for sharing :)

12:21PM PST on Jan 17, 2012

animals are so truly amazing. But it's sad that they are having to change because of the irresponsibility if humans :/

7:48AM PST on Jan 17, 2012

Wow!

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