Four new species of 'walking sharks' found off Australian coast

As Australia battles a raging bush fire that has destroyed much of flora and fauna of the region, according to a recent study several new species of sharks have been discovered in the waters off northern Australia and Indonesia.

Four new species of 'walking sharks' found off Australian coast
(Image courtesy: Conservation International/Youtube)

As Australia battles a raging bush fire that has destroyed much of flora and fauna of the region, according to a recent study several new species of sharks have been discovered in the waters off northern Australia and Indonesia.

The news species is found to have evolved to use their four side fins to propel themselves across the seafloor thus earning the name "walking sharks".

According to Dr Christine Dudgeon of the University of Queensland, a 12-year study into these species of sharks was conducted jointly with the CSIRO, Florida Museum of Natural History, the Indonesian Institute of Sciences, and Indonesian Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries. 

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'Genetic data suggest the new species evolved after the sharks moved away from their original population, became genetically isolated in new areas and developed into new species,' Dr Dudgeon said. 

Though this is not the first time the "walking sharks" have been found but the study helped in identifying four news species, doubling the number previously known.

While 'walking sharks' have previously been found, the study has identified four new species - almost doubling the number of species known to have the ability to nine.