As if sharks aren't scary and deadly enough, we're now learning that modern sharks aren't the living fossils we once thought they were. Previous studies of the predator fish told us that sharks haven't and don't evolve over the epochs, but a new find -- a 325-million-year-old shark named Ozarcus mapesae -- is chewing up the old paradigm.
Philippe Janvier, a vertebrate paleontologist at the Museum National de l’Histoire Naturelle in Paris says “sharks and their allies may well be the anatomically most advanced jawed vertebrates, which evolved through a considerable reduction of their ability to produce bone.” Without heavy bones to carry around, modern day sharks are sleeker, faster and lighter, which makes them more effective predators than their predecessors.
I'm guessing most humans, like me, don't want to believe that the shark is still evolving features that make them more and more fearsome over time -- especially those of us who like swimming in the sea. But I'm guessing we'll be hearing more about the ocean's top predator and its evolutionary state, which won't keep me out of the water, but will certainly give me someThing to think about while I'm swimming through the shark's turf.
I'll see you next week,