World-first hybrid sharks have been discovered off the coast of Australia, raising the possibility that the creatures are adapting to deal with the growing impact of climate change. The larger common black-tip shark was found to be hybridising with the smaller Australian black-tip shark.
The discovery is significant because the two sharks tend to inhabit different regions with different water temperatures. If sharks adapt so that they can exist in new regions, they stand a better chance of surviving as water temperaturers change.
Athough common in some animals, hybridisation has not previously been recorded in sharks. And since sharks, unlike many marine animals, actually choose a mate rather than simply releasing sperm and eggs into the water, the discovery means that climate change could be having an impact on the way sharks think. However, it’s also possible that this phenomenon has been occurring for longer than humans realise and is unrelated to climate change.