A group of researchers have identified a new shark species in the Atlantic Ocean. The scientists using genetic testing confirmed that the new species is different from its counterparts residing in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.
The species have been named Atlantic sixgill shark. The findings were published in the journal Marine Biodiversity.
Study: Key Highlights
• The sixgills in the Atlantic Ocean were found to be very different from the ones in the Indian and Pacific Oceans on a molecular level, even though they might look similar to the naked eye.
• With a length of 6 feet, the Atlantic sixgill sharks are far smaller than their Indo-Pacific counterparts, which can grow up to 15 feet or longer.
• The new species also have unique, saw-like lower teeth.
• Further, as their name suggests, the new species of sharks have six-gill slits, while most sharks have five-gill slits.
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Significance of the Findings
By getting a new classification, the Atlantic sixgill sharks will now have a better chance at surviving for a long-term.
With ancestors dating back to over 250 million years, well before dinosaurs, the sixgill sharks are among the oldest creatures on Earth.
The challenging part, however, is the fact that the new species reside at extreme ocean depths, sometimes thousands of feet below the surface, as it makes them especially challenging to study.