Video reveals steps of newly hatched ‘walking’ shark babies
Some sharks can “walk,” and researchers recently discovered how one of these rare shark species practices baby walking. They begin when they are just hatched, and the gait of newly hatched cubs is no different than that of older juveniles.
When the tide goes out near the reef, a small kind of carpet shark often left behind.If stranded in shallow tide pools where oxygen levels are decreasing and rising temperature — Worse, washed up on a hot slab of bare reef — most aquatic life misses the chance. However, the epaulet shark (hemicillium ocellatum) can hold your breath for hours and withstand different temperatures. And when the time comes, you will be able to walk.
Marianne E. Porter, an associate professor at Florida Atlantic University who studies shark mechanical structure and movement, said, “When the reef is exposed at low tide, you can see sharks walking over the reef. I can,” he said. She tells her Live Science that these hardy little sharks can roam for more than 90 feet (27 meters) with four paddle-shaped fins until they find a suitable nook to wait for the tide to come in. He said he could walk on the ground and in the water.
Although this is one of nature’s most distinctive survival strategies, few studies have examined the physics behind locomotion and locomotion in epaulet sharks.New research in the journal now Integrated Comparative Biology He is the first researcher to describe the mechanism of how newly hatched epaulet sharks walk.
The findings may ultimately help scientists understand how other aquatic organisms can withstand climate-change-related stresses, such as rising carbon dioxide levels.
“Epaulet sharks live in extremes,” said Porter, the study’s lead author. “If you want to know what happens to animals under extreme conditions of climate change, look at animals already living under these conditions and understand how they move and cope. may be the first step.
Related: ‘Walking shark’ caught on video surprises scientists
bloated shark baby
Porter and paper co-author Jody Lamar, a professor of marine biology at James Cook University in Australia, have been studying epaulette sharks for years, but they have no idea how carpet sharks actually walk. I was frustrated to find that there was so little information about The most recent studies examining migration in epaulet sharks were published in the late 1990s and focused only on mature sharks. The question of juvenile sharks and how they walk has never been addressed in the scientific literature.
Porter and Lamar suspected that baby sharks might walk differently than older sharks or adults. Epaulet sharks are naturally bloated, bloated by a yolk sac that meets all their nutritional needs for about a month before they reach maturity to eat small fish and earthworms. The baby fat then rolls off and transforms into the familiar adult shark spindle shape.
“Shape generally affects how we move,” Porter said. “Human babies walk differently to balance their huge heads. We hypothesize that baby sharks wiggle their bodies and move their fins differently to accommodate their huge bellies.” did.”
But after examining multiple videos of young sharks walking and swimming, the researchers found that all young sharks, from newly hatched babies to young sharks without yolk sacs, appear to move in the same way. This observation held across several key metrics, including speed, tail fin frequency, body bending, and fin rotation.
“I really thought baby sharks would move differently,” Porter said. “But science has made its best guess based on the available evidence, and the hypothesis has been proven wrong.”
beyond the walking shark
It is unclear why baby sharks do not adopt a gait more suited to their bulbous bellies. One possible explanation is that gravity play a role. A recent study looked only at sharks walking in the water, where the mass of the yolk sac barely hinders movement. In future studies, Porter hopes to examine whether baby sharks adjust their gait on land to account for their extra weight.
Further research into epaulet shark locomotion has led evolutionary biologists to study how the animal transitioned from water to land, and how fins and feet, like Porter, interact with surfaces, and whether the animal is gravitational. It may also be useful for biomechanics researchers who study how to explain body shape. When moving through different environments.
Meanwhile, the epaulet shark has emerged as a model for scientists studying how marine fish adapt to changing seas. Studying how these unique sharks walk to safety will ultimately help other species navigate in difficult environmental conditions and how they move away. can lead to a better understanding of climate change.
“There’s a lot to learn from epaulet sharks from an evolutionary standpoint, from a climate change standpoint, even from a basic physiological standpoint,” Porter said.
Originally published in Live Science.