'Walking' shark discovered in Indonesia

August 30, 2013
A tourist walks along a white sand beach n Doloda island, North Maluku, Indonesia, on August 25, 2006. A new species of shark that "walks" along the seabed using its fins as tiny legs has been discovered in eastern Indonesia, an environmental group said Friday.

A new species of shark that "walks" along the seabed using its fins as tiny legs has been discovered in eastern Indonesia, an environmental group said Friday.

The brown and white bamboo shark pushes itself along the ocean floor as it forages for small fish and at night, said Conservation International, whose scientists were involved in its discovery.

The shark, which grows to a maximum length of just 80 centimetres (30 inches) and is harmless to humans, was discovered off Halmahera, one of the Maluku Islands that lie west of New Guinea.

Bamboo sharks, also known as longtail carpet sharks, are relatively small compared to their larger cousins, with the largest adult reaching only about 120 centimetres (47 inches) in length.

They have unusually long tails that are bigger than the rest of their bodies and are found in around Indonesia, Australia and Papua New Guinea.

Conservation International said the discovery of the shark, which was first disclosed in the International Journal of Ichthyology, "should help draw diver interest to this mega-diverse but largely undiscovered region".

Ketut Sarjana Putra, Indonesia country director for the group, said the Hemiscyllium halmahera shark could "serve as an excellent ambassador to call public attention to the fact that most are harmless to humans and are worthy of our conservation attention".

Conservation International, whose scientists discovered the shark along with colleagues from the Western Australian Museum, added it came at a time when Indonesia was increasing its efforts to protect shark and ray species.

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10 comments

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tadchem
3 / 5 (2) Aug 30, 2013
Compare this video from 2002: http://www.youtub...7uIfMIqc
antonima
1 / 5 (12) Aug 30, 2013
New shark specie? More likely the result of the Fukushima disaster.
JohnGee
2.7 / 5 (7) Aug 30, 2013
Cute. Antonima thinks The Simpsons is a documentary.
satanfornoreason
5 / 5 (2) Aug 30, 2013
How about a picture? Duh.
Humpty
2.6 / 5 (10) Aug 30, 2013
Yeah Story on walking shark - gets picture of person on beach...

Good one that is.
Neinsense99
1.9 / 5 (7) Aug 31, 2013
Yeah Story on walking shark - gets picture of person on beach...

Good one that is.

Don't play cards with that person. I've heard that one is a real shark...
Gmr
3.4 / 5 (5) Aug 31, 2013
...and the picture is from seven years ago...

Yoiks. Talk about reaching for a visual. They could have at least showed, I dunno, a shark... unrelated ... from seven years ago. But a beach, unrelated, from seven years ago?
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
5 / 5 (2) Aug 31, 2013
I hear ~ 10 of these walking sharks are known. There are of course bone fishes with the same gait (stone fishes, say) especially lung fishes but interestingly not coelacanths.

So the discussion I've seen has been between those who thinks the gait pattern generator could have been present in the common ancestor of fishes, or if it is convergent evolution. The former would of course make the step up [sic!] onto land even smaller than we think today.
yyz
5 / 5 (2) Aug 31, 2013
Story with picture and video here: http://www.sci-ne...335.html
Gmr
2.3 / 5 (3) Aug 31, 2013
yyz: Thank you - awesome, actually really neat to see.

Torbjorn_Larrson_OM - I'd be inclined to say the gait pattern generator was present already - I'm not sure how many of the early plated fishes were neutrally buoyant enough to stay in the water column.

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