Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Shark Evolution?

Just read an article that was linked to over on Bill Crider's blog about the world's first hybrid shark being found.  Well, I guess it's better for you to find the world's first hybrid shark than for the world's first hybrid shark to find you!

But I digress.  You can read the full article here.

This eye-opening (jaw-dropping, actually, as you can see from the above picture) presents a lot of new possibilities to my creative side.

First of all, I -- like the scientists -- am now wondering if this hybridization has been going on since sharks first start hunting in the oceans around the world.  Sharks are already considered some of the fiercest predators ever created, and if they have a way of evolving, of making themselves more dangerous, then we could be in trouble.  Of course, we still have nuclear weapons.

But why are we just seeing this now?  Hasn't there been some indication in the past?  And if there aren't any prior cases, then why is this happening now?  Part of the Global Warming trend?  Still gotta prove that one to everyone's satisfaction as well.

If this is part of the evolutionary change going through the world, are we going to see more hybridization?  How many other animals, particularly predators, are going to have to "upgrade?"  There's a story right there for fertile minds, people!

Okay, let's go utterly fantastic for a moment.  The Australian blacktip shark lives in tropical waters while the common blacktip shark lives in the ocean, and much cooler waters.  The hybridization allows the Australian blacktip much greater range.  The Australian blacktip population was hunted heavily for a time, reducing its numbers by fifty percent.  Maybe the Australian blacktip decided it needed the adaptability of the common?  Or maybe with the cutback of potential mates they had to cruise other neighborhoods?

Or maybe the sharks know that the ice caps are going to melt and prehistoric predators that even the sharks feared are going to be released back into the water!

I like that one.  Just like birds are affected by land disturbances, earthquakes and volcanoes (and fireworks displays on New Year's Eve in Beebe, Arkansas -- click here), maybe these sharks are affected by the polar ice caps melting!

I don't know for sure what's going on, but I'm willing to bet that horror/thriller writers start playing with the idea of hybridized sharks in stories before long.  And since sharks may be so genetically adaptable, maybe evil scientists will start mutating them too.

However, I just can't see this happening.  Ever.

No comments: