Oh, great. As if that Sharknado thing and Discovery Channel's "Shark Week" weren't shark overload enough, the spotlight-hungry predators are thrusting themselves back into the national conversation — only this time, they're walking.
Rather than swim, these slender-bodied sharks 'walk' by wriggling their bodies and pushing with their pectoral and pelvic fins… They are relatively small, with the largest species measuring about 48 inches (1.22 m). The newly discovered species, called Hemiscyllium halmahera, reaches 28 inches (70 cm) in length. [Sci-News.com]
Yes, that means that these predators — albeit pint-sized ones — have evolved the capability to scamper over hard surfaces, albeit only in water. And who knows? Maybe one day, they'll take their stubby quadrupedal capabilities to land.
While "walking" sharks have been studied since at least the 18th century, enthusiasts are excited by the discovery of this new species, since it points to the possibility of other weird life living in the ocean. "If a large, charismatic shallow water fish like Hemiscyllium halmahera can go unnoticed for so long, there's no telling what abundance of freaky small reef fish, gobies, anthias, wrasses and dottybacks are also waiting to be found in the backwater reefs of northeast Indonesia," says Jake Adams at Reef Builders.
And Hemiscyllium halmahera admittedly looks pretty cool, especially with its trendy camo-pattern. (Perfect for the fall!) I guess sharks have yet to jump themselves after all.