Aussie Sharks ‘Evolving’

Posted January 4th, 2012 at 11:00 am (UTC-5)
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Some feared predators off the Australian coast appear to be adapting.

A team of Australian scientists says it has identified 57 sharks that appear to be the result of mating between two species, making them the first-ever hybrid sharks identified in the wild.

The scientists say the hybrid sharks are a combination of the common blacktip shark and the smaller Australian blacktip shark, which lives in warmer tropical waters near the coastline.

The researchers say the new, hybrid sharks live along a 200 kilometer stretch of Australia's northeastern coast but have ventured more than 1,600 kilometers south, to cooler waters.

The scientists say they do not know for certain why the two species started interbreeding but suggest it may be an evolutionary process to adapt to climate change or pressures on their food supply.

The findings appear in the journal Conservation Genetics.