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New species of shark discovered in Belize

A new species of shark was found in Belize recently. The discovery was made by Associate Professor at Florida International University and Lead Scientist of Global Fin Print, Demian Chapman.

Demian Chapman – Associate Professor, Florida International University & Lead Scientist of Global Fin Print

“Something that is common in the fishery here, but it’s a productive species so I think it’s something that it’s okay to fish. So people in Belize might have seen it or eaten it in panades, but it’s actually a new species. So the Shovel Bill we used to think it was something called a Bonnet Head which is a species of Hammerhead and when we did DNA testing like in Jurassic Park we actually found that it was something entirely different, it looks identical but it’s a different species. Their confirmation came in January of this year but now we are in the process we have some specimens from the fishermen and we are in the process describing and naming it. So it will officially become a new species next year. We’ll probably get to name it, we are certainly going to name it the Shovel Bill for its common name which is the name the fishermen call it here. Well it was certainly a surprise to discover a new species especially one that we thought was just a common one like occurs throughout the Western Atlantic region so my first thought when I saw the DNA sequence from these was that there was a mistake so I sent the lab results back and they came back the same so it was quite a lucky break to find that.”