Hybrid sharks found in Australia result from interbreeding

A team of scientists has discovered the first hybridized shark in the world off the coast of Australia. The shark appears to be the result of interbreeding that doesn't normally occur between the Australian Black-tip shark and the common black-tip. The Australian black-tip is only able to survive in the warmer tropical waters.

The common black-tip can survive in cooler waters in the southern area of Australia. The interbreeding between the species of sharks if very rare according to the scientists. They think this is a way that the Australian black-tip is evolving to be able to survive climate change due to global warming and the change in ocean temperatures.

Another potential reason for the interbreeding of the two shark types is human fishing. The team discovered the hybrid shark when studying the animals. One shark's genetic tests showed it to be a different species than it looked like. The team estimates that as much as 20% of the black-tip population in some areas is the hybrid variety.

"It's very surprising because no one's ever seen shark hybrids before, this is not a common occurrence by any stretch of the imagination," Jess Morgan, from the University of Queensland, told AFP.

[via AFP]