Scientists Discover 4 New Species While Studying How Some Sharks Evolved to Walk On Land

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These sharks' fins were made for walking, and that's just what they'll do. 

Epaulette sharks (named for their military-style coloring) have evolved to walk across the sea floor, reefs and even on land to catch their prey, and can go for extended periods without oxygen while they do so. Walking sharks have been strutting their stuff for at least 9 million years. 

Scientists studied the sharks' DNA to learn how this amazing evolutionary feat came about, discovering four new species of walking sharks in the process. They published their findings in the journal Marine and Freshwater Research this month. 

Sharks are older than dinosaurs and have been swimming around our oceans for at almost 450 million years, so the fact that they're still evolving is pretty incredible. 

"The discovery proves that modern sharks have remarkable evolutionary staying power and the ability to adapt to environmental changes," Mark Erdmann, the paper's co-author and Conservation International Vice President of Asia-Pacific marine programs, told CNN

Edrmann told the network he hopes the group's research will help make the case for adding the sharks to the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List to help better protect them. 

Check out the video above to see the walking shark in action. 


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