Here, we’ll discuss the newly identified shark species that have been found as a result of humankind’s increased exploration of the oceans. A mystery that started with an egg was involved. Scientists in Australia discovered a peculiar type of “mermaid’s purse” in 1989 a leathery egg case that some species of sharks use to lay their eggs rather than give birth to live young. One almost unique characteristic of the empty egg casings was a row of noticeable ridges along the top. A few hundred kilometers off Australia’s northeastern coast, in the East Timor Sea, near a set of atolls known as the Rowley Shoals, were where the eggs were discovered.
New Shark Species
After more than 30 years, researchers would eventually answer the most fundamental of these queries, leading to the discovery of a brand-new species of shark. The most spectacular hunters of the ocean are still being discovered by humanity more than two decades into the twenty-first century. As recently as the middle of the 1980s, science has narrowed the number of shark species to about 360. These species range from deep marine featherweights like the 20 cm (8 in) long dwarf lantern shark to the huge whale shark, the largest fish species in the oceans, and a plankton feeder. But this number has increased by about 40% in only a little over 40 years. More than 500 species have been identified, and the rate of new species discovery is unabated.
This most recent surge of discovery is comparable to that of the heyday of exploration. It is a by-product of meticulous research into museum collections’ archives as well as looking into the world’s seas’ deep recesses. Consider the shark that produced the enigmatic egg casings with ridges. The group that made the connections included Will White, senior curator of the Australian National Fish Collection at CSIRO in Hobart, Australia. The egg cases had been distributed to museum archives after being found during a survey at Rowley Shoals, with little attention paid to the case’s peculiar ridges.
While doing voluntary work at the Western Australian Museum in Perth in 2011, a researcher by the name of Brett Human discovered the ridged shark egg case. Even though the eggs resembled those of another species of shark, that shark had never been discovered in Australian seas. Humans restricted the species to potentially being a catfish by connecting the egg case to other eggs that had been discovered in Australia. But he was unable to identify the precise species. It turns out that in the 1980s, CSIRO had also received specimens of the egg cases, but no one had conducted further investigation.