Walking Shark: New Species Discovered In Indonesia 'Walks' On Ocean Floor, Causes Nightmares

By Josh Lieberman on August 28, 2013 5:32 PM EDT

walking shark
A new type of bamboo shark that can "walk" on the ocean floor was recently discovered in Indonesia. (Photo: YouTube screenshot)

A "walking shark" has been discovered by scientists hell-bent on terrifying the global population. The new species of bamboo shark was found off the coast of Indonesia, where it was observed strutting along the ocean floor in a sort of iguana/snake/devil-may-care fashion.

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The walking shark, scientific name Hemiscyllium Halmahera, uses its pectoral and pelvic fins to scuttle along the ocean floor, appearing to "walk." The shark can grow up to 28 inches, and may provide insight into how early animals evolved from living underwater to walking on land.

The walking shark was discovered on Maluku, an Indonesian archipelago. Biologist Gerald Allen, from Conservation International, discovered the walking shark and described it in the International Journal of Ichthyology.

"Its features include a general brown colouration with numerous clusters of mainly 2-3 dark polygonal spots, widely scattered white spots in the matrix between dark clusters," Allen wrote. This color pattern, he says, clearly differentiates it from other bamboo sharks.

Bamboo sharks are small, rarely growing more than 48 inches long. They have long tails, and are sometimes called longtail carpet sharks. Found in tropical waters near land in Australia, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia, bamboo sharks feed on bottom dwellers and small fish.

The walking shark is unrelated to the more terrifying land shark.

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