Shark Lab

Lab Update: 18 October

As Paul and the team continued pulling SIO specimens from storage to photo document them this week, we took a deeper look at a few his most precious sharks: the chimaeras!

Closely related to sharks, chimaeras have very strange characteristics such as large eyes, venomous dorsal spine, and large, beautiful wing-like pectoral fins. We know almost nothing about their life history, so these specimens, taken accidentally as bycatch from a commercial fishing vessel, are extremely valuable to science. There are under 50 species currently known, but that number is growing every year as we probe further into the deep. Paul discovered 4 (potentially 6) new species, and he is working to get them officially described. This is a very important step because an animal has to be described and named in order share information with scientist and policy makers. You can’t protect something if no one knows it exists.

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