News24

First hybrid sharks found off Australia

2012-01-03 14:13

Sydney - Scientists said on Tuesday that they had discovered the world's first hybrid sharks in Australian waters, a potential sign the predators were adapting to cope with climate change.

The mating of the local Australian black-tip shark with its global counterpart, the common black-tip, was an unprecedented discovery with implications for the entire shark world, said lead researcher Jess Morgan.

"It's very surprising because no one's ever seen shark hybrids before, this is not a common occurrence by any stretch of the imagination," Morgan, from the University of Queensland, told AFP.

"This is evolution in action."

Changing sea temperatures

Colin Simpfendorfer, a partner in Morgan's research from James Cook University, said initial studies suggested the hybrid species was relatively robust, with a number of generations discovered across 57 specimens.

The find was made during cataloguing work off Australia's east coast when Morgan said genetic testing showed certain sharks to be one species when physically they looked to be another.

The Australian black-tip is slightly smaller than its common cousin and can only live in tropical waters, but its hybrid offspring have been found 2 000km down the coast, in cooler seas.

It means the Australian black-tip could be adapting to ensure its survival as sea temperatures change because of global warming.

"If it hybridises with the common species it can effectively shift its range further south into cooler waters, so the effect of this hybridising is a range expansion," Morgan said.

"It's enabled a species restricted to the tropics to move into temperate waters."

Climate change and human fishing are some of the potential triggers being investigated by the team, with further genetic mapping also planned to examine whether it was an ancient process just discovered or a more recent phenomenon.

Survival of the fittest

If the hybrid was found to be stronger than its parent species - a literal survival of the fittest - Simpfendorfer said it may eventually outlast its so-called pure-bred predecessors.

"We don't know whether that's the case here, but certainly we know that they are viable, they reproduce and that there are multiple generations of hybrids now that we can see from the genetic roadmap that we've generated from these animals," he said.

"Certainly it appears that they are fairly fit individuals."

The hybrids were extraordinarily abundant, accounting for up to 20% of black-tip populations in some areas, but Morgan said that didn't appear to be at the expense of their single-breed parents, adding to the mystery.

Simpfendorfer said the study, published late last month in Conservation Genetics, could challenge traditional ideas of how sharks had and were continuing to evolve.

"We thought we understood how species of sharks have separated, but what this is telling us is that in reality we probably don't fully understand the mechanisms that keep species of shark separate," he said.

"And in fact, this may be happening in more species than these two."

Comments
  • Morne - 2012-01-03 14:29

    Mother nature at work. Magnificent.

      Bongani - 2012-01-03 14:56

      What kind of moronic idiot would thumbs down Morne's statement??????

      Citizen - 2012-01-03 15:13

      Agreed Morne, very good news, now if we can only save them from ending up on Eastern soup menus

      Morne - 2012-01-03 15:24

      Citizen, Indeed, but most satisfying for me is the fact that no matter how much we try and destroy this planet and its inhabitants, Mother Nature always finds a way to fight back. Perhaps we can hope for sharks to develop poison fins!

      christo.stone - 2012-01-03 17:37

      Now if only rhino's could evolve to use guns so that they can kill poachers...

      Jason - 2012-01-03 18:07

      I cant understand what kind of people troll around these forums hitting the Thumbs Down button. This is an incredible example of mother nature. Maybe we need the White pointer to breed with the Aggressive Bull! reduce some of our population.

      moby.quest - 2012-01-03 19:46

      It would be interesting if one of the "thumbs down" people actually tell us WHY they give a thumbs down. Unless they are poachers themselves and want to stay anonymous.

      Swapie - 2012-01-03 20:45

      The making of Jaws! I never go back into the water! d-du-dudu-dudu-du....

      Chum Scrubber - 2012-01-04 06:02

      Morne, I think Mother Nature is losing. We lose many species every year, habitats are shrinking at alarming rates. It is predicted that by 2050 that the sea will be populated with only jellyfish - gonna be interesting living on jellyfish, hopefully I'm gone by then.

      Morne - 2012-01-04 07:56

      Chum, I might not believe in many things in life, but I do believe that life (for all living things) follows a natural balance. Once something comes along (like humans) upsetting that natural balance it triggers events to neutralise it. Now we might not experience this in 1, or maybe 5 lifetimes such is the nature of things, but it does happen. This is not the first time this has happened either (receding habitats, global warming, etc) and it certainly won't be the last. Some call it evolution, I call it correcting the balance of life itself. We humans might think we are important but we are actually insignificant in the bigger scheme of things. There are lifeforms on earth much more powerful than humans and as much as we try and control one or two, 5 or 6 spring up somewhere else. Species have gone extinct since the beginning of time and will in future as-well - and imo, this includes us...

      Fredster - 2012-01-04 09:10

      What is the big news? a Shark mated with a shark, just as a dog mates with a dog

      WotzisName - 2012-01-04 09:31

      Maybe they were just two randy sharks in the same area with no other options around! Humans do the same thing, we don't look at the result and say "evolution in the making" if a Kenyan and a Korean get happy and make a baby. Same thing with dogs - a poodle and a pug make puppies they are called cross-breeds, or runts, not hybrids! Survival of the species, you gotta do what ya gotta do if there are no other options, because the other options are in a soup in China.

      Craig - 2012-01-04 11:29

      well Morne they actually already have a high degree of mercury in their systems, so effectively they do have 'poison' fins... in large quantities it does have dire results on people consuming them.. all we can hope for is the degree of mercury increases rapidly and works in faster eliminating the dumb people stupid enough to consume such a beautiful creature :}

  • Gerhard - 2012-01-03 14:55

    Wow!! A Hybrid shark! I wonder what it runs on?

      Gungets - 2012-01-03 15:00

      Oxygen, gives out CO2. Kill them all, contributing to Global warming. Or genetically splice them with a pond lilly, make them carbon neutral. Of course they would be round and flat, like manta, bonus.

      Bongani - 2012-01-03 15:01

      Water.

  • ofentse.ramorula - 2012-01-03 15:19

    So coloured people are hybrids? They can survive the hot african climate and the cold european conditions, and they may eventually outlast their pure bred black & white predecessors. LOL.

      Sharon - 2012-01-03 15:32

      Ok, good one. Does Toyata have something to do with it? Ha Ha

      Bruce - 2012-01-03 15:32

      Africans and Europeans, in fact the whole human race, are one and the same species, so no hybrids.

      Xenswim1 - 2012-01-03 16:39

      IN CASE WE ARE CLOUDED BY RACE. We may be grouped as homosapien but there are quite big differences both genetically and physically between the races.

      Chum Scrubber - 2012-01-04 06:07

      Xenswim1 - physically I agree with you, but genetically? Are you sure? Anyway, I don't see why it is so important that we have to be the same, we should accept our differences and our similarities. I'm happy to be white, and have no need to be ashamed of feeling this way. (Could do with a better tan though)

      WotzisName - 2012-01-04 09:13

      Genetically and physically there are some inter-racial differences (eg black people have naturally fatter flatter noses and are more inclined to pick them unashamedly) but more noticeable are the vast differences in intellectual evolution between various races. It may well be the "politically incorrect" thing to say, but you can't hide from the truth!

      Gerald - 2012-01-04 11:45

      @ 'wart'is name If you are going to say something try not sounding intelligent but actually be intelligent...you say there are genetic and physical interracial differences...then to substantiate you use a behavioural trait...which at best is very offensive...you start off an argument alluding to karyotypic and phenotypic variations which then one would assume you will actually speak about race specific genetic sequences as to how they translate to the phenotype, but lo and behold you speak about a behavioural trait...so there, lets have it. How many black people have you seen who openly pick their noses compared to the total black population that would then embolden you to make such an inference? I stayed in UCT Smuts Hall at one time and the white patrons there would, from time to time, when inebriated, take to dropping the pants, bending and spreading their bum cheeks, intelligently they call it mooning. Must I now assume the whole white population partake in this great social activity. Similarly, on a certain day Kopano Residence boys go about in their birthday suits to rondebosch and the girls dorms, intelligently...this is called streaking. Do all white folks streak? If you are going to infer racial differences try picking examples that are at least positive then you don't come out l like a flippant arrogant and stupid racist...or what there isn't anything positive you can say about blacks?

  • modo - 2012-01-03 15:34

    Evolution in action!

      Graham - 2012-01-04 07:02

      when it turns into a dolphin we can talk

  • mike.clery - 2012-01-03 15:52

    Is anything happening that isn't "because of global warming"?

      Chum Scrubber - 2012-01-04 06:08

      No.

  • Shirley - 2012-01-03 15:56

    If man wont step up to the plate and save species from global warming effects-mother nature will! An amazing feat!

      Paul - 2012-01-03 16:11

      So what makes you any different from a doomsday, end of the world type screaming the end is near? Spread love, not fear.

      carolinebza - 2012-01-03 17:23

      If she can, she will. But it'll be in spite of humans, sorry to say. Latest research (Foster and Rahmsdorf) quantifies the natural variability trends - solar, ENSO (El Nino, La Nino), AMO are all in cooling phases, but in spite of this the global temp data still shows a warming trend, and extreme weather is going ballistic. But mention global warming and all the deniers trot out their usual canards ("the hockey stick is a hoax", etc), apparently without minding at all that there isn't a shred of evidence to back them up. What do they think is going to happen when solar variation, El Nino etc are in the same direction as AGW?

      Gungets - 2012-01-03 17:57

      Caroline - please explain the Medieval Warming period, just for a start. The Climate Change alarmists do not say it did not exist, just that they cannot prove it was global, so they throw it out. Just that one, for a start.

      carolinebza - 2012-01-03 18:12

      Hi Gungets, I don't need to because the good folk at Skeptical Science have long since done it for me: http://www.skepticalscience.com/medieval-warm-period.htm "The Climate Change alarmists do not say it did not exist, just that they cannot prove it was global," Whose side are you on? Climate science has demonstrated that it *wasn't* global, so I'm not sure what point you're trying to make.

  • Paul - 2012-01-03 16:09

    CO2 is no longer a factor in the environmental equation since the world walked away from the tragic exaggerations of CO2 and unstoppable warming. The new denier is anyone who doesn’t know this reality and yes, real plant lovers are happy, not disappointed a crisis wasn’t real after all. We condemned our children to the greenhouse gas ovens like goose stepping Greezis and with such utter childish glee that history I am certain will not ever forgive us for.

      Gungets - 2012-01-03 16:47

      Yep - and once the hoax is exposed the world will throw the baby out with the bathwater and abandon every attempt to clean up our act. Continue with polluting activities such as fossil fuel use, rampant herbicide, insecticide and fertiliser use and generally screwing up the resources of the planet. And this is/was always the danger of the AGW lobby - that they would be proved wrong and cause a devastating over-reaction, followed by scepticism of anyone who preaches sustainable use of our little ball of molten lava. Such as - SHARKS - between 50 and 70 million a year of which are being slaughtered while pseudo-scientists fights over a phony hockey-stick graph. Sies.

      carolinebza - 2012-01-03 17:04

      Which planet is this? (The one I live on has re-insurers screaming after a record year of weather disasters - as predicted - and the only hoax is the one perpetrated by big oil trying to cast doubt on some very scary science.)

      Gungets - 2012-01-03 17:45

      @Caroline - read more. Question more. We live on a tiny ball of molten rock, spinning around our own axis at 1600kph, and rougn the sun at 160000kph. You expect perfect, predictable weather patterns. And it is not "big oil", you spend too much time listening to the IPCC defend their indefensible positions. They have no data, so they resort to attacking the credibility of the source. May I suggest you start reading with the most credible and unemotional site (there are many, many sites around that espouse a particular view, mostly using character assassination as a defence of their point) that I have found to offer a balanced view. ---> http://www.co2science.org/index.php

      Shirley - 2012-01-03 17:52

      Actally I wasnt screaming anything! Seeing as you are so clued up explain the dark future of polar bears. Or tell us that you can honestly say our planet is not in danger and that many species are on the verge of extintion!

      carolinebza - 2012-01-03 17:58

      Gungets - I follow the science. Apparently you don't. Stick to what has been peer-reviewed, not what you find on sites with dubious sources of funding: (co2science.org) Funding from ExxonMobil Sherwood Idso confirmed that Exxon "made some donations to us a few times in the past" but attributed this to the fact that "they probably liked what we typically had to say about the issue. But what we had to say then, and what we have to say now, came not, and comes not, from them or any other organization or person."[13] ExxonMobil's 2001 list of groups it funded listed a $10,000 contribution to the Center in 2001. Center for Science in the Public Interest, "Center for the study of carbon dioxide and global change", Integrity in Science, undated, accessed March 2004. [15] StopExxon.org reports the Center has received $90,000 from ExxonMobil between 1998 and 2005 comprising: [16] 2008: 0?[17] 2007: 0[18] 2006: $10,000[16],[19] 2005: $25,000 2003: $40,000 2000: $15,000 1998: $10,000 (Source of funding info: http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Center_for_the_Study_of_Carbon_Dioxide_and_Global_Change) If you think that's "balanced", well, we'll have to agree to differ. Personally I usually start at http://www.skepticalscience.com/ and branch out from there.

      Gungets - 2012-01-03 18:45

      @Caroline - you are doing it too. You refuse to read anything that might contradict your very fixed viwe. We are all going to die, unless we start eating organic veges, and ride horses. Did you read anything on that site. You realise that funding for ANYONE who does not toe the AGW line has dried up, so funding will come from whence it can. Who funds Sourcewatch??? ---> I will have a go at sceptical science if you have a go at CO2Science. ---> Anything on the Medieval Warming yet. You could ignore it of course. Al Gore did, the IPCC did, until they were forced to take the hockey stick out of their second report.

      mike.clery - 2012-01-03 18:56

      @carolinebza - Science has a history of drawing incorrect conclusions from available data. And isn't that how it's supposed to be? Science dogma is as irrational as religious dogma. This was apparently presented at COP17 - http://cfact.org/pdf/ClimateDepot_A-Z_ClimateRealityCheck.pdf

      Gungets - 2012-01-03 18:58

      And since neither of us are climate scientists, I guess we will have to find the most credible source and see how we go. On the positive side - for you - I actually endorse all the aims of the climate alarmists, from moving to sustainable use of resources, to lowering my carbon footprint, all the good stuff, just for a different reason. I like a clean world. I don't believe we are going to die, I don't disagree that the earth is warming, I just don't believe we are causing it, nor can we, or should we (hells teeth, we have screwed up everything we have touched, imagine the disaster if we try and "fix" the climate). So, same aim, different reason. However, my reason stands, whether the earth is warming due to us or not. If the warming has reversed, then all your reasons are gone, and my goal is shot to hell with it. That is my fear. We agree to disagree, we bot continue the fight for a cleaner earth, I just hope that the rug is not pulled from under both of us.

      mike.clery - 2012-01-03 19:23

      @Shirley - you'll find details of the polar bear scare in the link I posted.

      carolinebza - 2012-01-03 19:29

      Mike: AGW is on a par as a scientific theory with the notion that vaccines can prevent polio, i.e. it is one of the most solid and well-demonstrated theories around, with multiple lines of evidence all going in the same direction and nothing that even looks like a competing theory capable of explaining the same data. Yes, the wrong conclusions can be drawn from data, but by and large science is the most successful method we have for understanding and manipulating the world, by a long way. Given the current scientific dominance of AGW as an explanation of the observations, we are way beyond the point where basic risk management principles say we should be doing something about it. Gungets, as I think Moynihan said, everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts. The data doesn't care whether you believe it or not. If you prefer to read sites run by oil industry service providers (they also run this: http://www.processregister.com/Cenospheres_Net_Inc/Supplier/sid16822.htm), suit yourself. For me, I think the most credible source will remain the one which presents the best reflection of the peer-reviewed science - and while I may not be a climate scientist, I am capable of reading and (usually) following a scientific paper.

      carolinebza - 2012-01-03 19:41

      Mike - where is the peer-reviewed proof of anything in the link you posted? (Morano is notorious for repetitively spouting this sort of stuff with no evidence to back it up)

      Gungets - 2012-01-03 21:04

      @Caroline - I read everything an lay my hands on, and I have already read a lot of the one you provided. CO2science is not "run by oil companies" - they donate a trivial amount of money $100K in all that time - so you can get off that horse. If you look at all the causes that "big oil" donate to, it might surprise you. It is just a form of corporate Ad Hominum argument. I am willing to bet that the providers of "clean energy" are major donors to the sites you visit and the researchers that provide the data and conclusions. It doesn't make their arguments invalid. The $100k would have paid for about 5 of the visitors to Cop17 - they might as well have saved that money. Let's leave it - I am busy reading the argument and counter arguments on polar land and sea ice ... from your site. The whole polar bear fiasco can wait ...

      Gungets - 2012-01-03 21:12

      And Caroline - in your wanderings, have you found any reliable sites that detail Al Gore's investment portfolio, his funders, and those that he funds. I just want to satisfy myself that he is the charitable fellow that he is portrayed as. Thanks in advance.

      mike.clery - 2012-01-03 21:20

      @carolinebza - I believe that question is answered by David at 20:42, by following his link.

      carolinebza - 2012-01-03 21:44

      Gungets: 1) your pet site is run by someone who also runs a company which services the oil industry. I can see a conflict of interest there - can't you? 2) I don't care what Al Gore's financial interests are, because he's not a publishing climate scientist, any more than the people who run co2science.org are publishing climate scientists. I.e. they are both biased observers. Gore's bias happens to be in agreement with the science. Mike, Spencer is excellent at blowing his own trumpet, but where is the climate journal in which he has been published without a successful rebuttal?

      Chum Scrubber - 2012-01-04 06:18

      I'm on Caroline's side in this argument. The big bucks are being made by the big polluters. I thus have to believe that they are the one's trying (and most able due to their money induced power) to deceive us. Its all about money, very simple. Humans are overwhemlingly dominated by those of us that are greedy - they are the one's who tend to "win" in the end. Its a pity the whole issue is now debateable due to all the conspiracy theories, nothing concrete will now be achieved as they have managed to break the common will of humans to deal with looking after our planet. Very evil if you ask me, but its what we are, us humans. We will reap what we sow, no escaping that.

      Rev-Ida - 2012-01-17 09:44

      @ChumScrubber You posted what I wanted to say, where I wanted to say it! I would paraphrase, "When money is involved, politics re-defines the truth of science, and furthermore calls economic lies the truth". It's more than just about hockey sticks, if you live within 5 metres of the high tide mark, and you have children who would like to live more than another ten years, better sell up and move to higher ground.

  • moby.quest - 2012-01-03 16:19

    Why are all the unusual animals, insects and creatures always found in and around Australia? And by unusual I mean species not found anywhere else in the world. Like the platypus, koala bears, tazmanian devils and the largest insect in the world!

      DanielDennett - 2012-01-03 18:46

      Australia is an island continent isolated from the rest of the world so species evolved in isolation of species on other continents.

  • Gerda - 2012-01-03 17:19

    Ubhejane - the same ones that thumbed down you. Maybe they can't read clearly and misinterpret the story.

  • NickvanderLeek - 2012-01-03 18:17

    Fascinating.

  • barry.mcbride - 2012-01-03 18:41

    Dear Evolution, well done and keep up the good work, but please keep them in water!

      Chum Scrubber - 2012-01-04 06:20

      Never thought of that! Imagine ...

  • Heinrich - 2012-01-03 18:43

    "The mating of the local Australian black-tip shark with ... the common black-tip..." Even shark morals going to the dogs. Show me your black tip, you common shark, I'll show you my mine... Global warming...HOT sharks! Pity our Government sharks don't evolve to migrate to a cooler Mars or something.

  • LOLMini - 2012-01-03 19:28

    Did ya think it could have been just some really horney sharks?

  • David - 2012-01-03 20:42

    As a degreed climatologist I cany say better than this “A large degree of nonsense If carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere doubled from its present low level of 390 ppm, what then? 13 September| ANDREW KENNY If carbon dioxide in the atmosphere doubled from its present low level of 390 ppm, what would happen? The answer is twofold. Plants would grow better. Second the effect on the climate would be negligible, with temperature rise of less than 1°C. CO2 is a feeble greenhouse gas . Over hundreds of millions of years, CO2, even at levels of over 4 000 ppm, has never had any significant effect. ……. But variations in the Sun’s activity have a profound effect. Two recent scientific findings have happened. …... A recent paper by one of the world’s leading climatologists, Dr Roy Spencer, strongly suggests negative feedback.In this case the whole climate alarm collapses. www.drroyspencer.com Climate alarm is a multi-billion dollar industry feeding the pockets and the ideology of a worldwide army of activists, politicians and imbedded scientists. …. They fight to deny any science that reveals that climate alarm unjustified. In November see alarmists in full cry

      carolinebza - 2012-01-03 21:17

      Right. Would this be the same Roy Spencer who has produced so many bad papers that he can't get published in any reputable climate journal? The one who went "off-topic" and published a paper in Remote Sensing which conveniently ignored the climate models relevant to his case while claiming that the irrelevant ones supported it? (When the editor realised what a piece of drivel he'd allowed in, he resigned, and the paper has subsequently been roundly and soundly rebutted, as is usual with Spencer's papers.) Leading climatologist? Only if you don't mind being led straight up the garden path. As for the solar variation argument, this has been rebutted over and over again, most recently by Foster and Rahmsdorf, who have quantified the various natural cycles and their contribution to warming. a) if it was the sun, the world should be cooling, not warming b) if the climate sensitivity is as low as you claim (doubling of CO2 resulting in less than 1 degree of warming) then it's equally insensitive to solar forcing - you can't have it both ways. None of the data suggests this - it all points to 3 - 4 degrees, which is also what the IPCC meta-analysis comes out to. You don't seem to be keeping up too well with the literature - are you a retired climatologist?

      carolinebza - 2012-01-03 21:28

      Now here's a fairly cold-eyed appraisal (actuaries are excellent statisticians): http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/43727793/ns/world_news-world_environment/t/already-costliest-year-natural-disasters I particularly like the comment which said: "Hey conservatives , I'm sure if you all explain to the insurance companies that climate change is simply a myth to enrich the evil Al Gore , they will lower your premiums."

      mike.clery - 2012-01-03 21:38

      @carolinebza. Your response is an example of ad hominem at its worst. As far as "he can't get published in any reputable climate journal" goes, that's the problem - the "gatekeeping" imposed by the scientific community is the antithesis of the spirit of scientific enquiry. Science has become the new religion, with its own dogma and refusal to entertain anything other than "acceptable" beliefs.

      Andrew - 2012-01-03 21:47

      @CAROLINE whilst everything you say may be true (and I personally do not believe in the 3-4C claim - there is much to suggest that this is over the top), nothing detracts from the fact that there has been no scientific evidence - not a shred - presented to suggest that this shark thing has anything at all to do with climate change - it all appears to be media prompted speculation. In fact the whole postulate is preposterous - the sea is warming because of evil mankind and look now the sharks are trying to adapt by evolving into sharks that favour cooler water -- what absolute twaddle! This is the big problem with sensationalising scientific endeavour - remember the "cry wolf" story? Not everything is caused by AGW.

      Andrew - 2012-01-03 21:54

      Also @caroline the big natural disasters in 2011 were mainly earthquakes and tsunamis (at least the ones with big insurance claims - third world floods do not result in big claims) - are these caused by climate change ? I think not --- here comes that word again --- Twaddle!

      mike.clery - 2012-01-03 22:09

      @carolinebza at 21:28 - are you saying that the earthquakes in Japan and New Zealand are a consequence of global climate change? "Japan's earthquake and tsunami last March account for the biggest chunk ($210 billion)".

      carolinebza - 2012-01-03 22:14

      Mike: have you read anything about the Remote Sensing episode? I have, including the paper and Trenberth's rebuttal. Spencer's work was appalling and it is very hard to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he didn't know that the other (ENSO-including) models existed - however, that is what the scientific community endeavoured to do, and the work was rebutted because of being sub-standard, which saved him from an accusation of deliberate scientific fraud. Accusing the scientific community of "gate-keeping" is very easy, and unfortunately there are very few people who can or will check for themselves. Saying that Spencer's science is not up to scratch (which it isn't) gets construed as an ad hom, and believed by all and sundry as evidence of some sort of bizarre conspiracy to manipulate the facts. In fact the scientific community's job is gate-keeping - it's a meritocracy, and the peer review process is there to weed out sub-standard papers and correct errors, something it usually does exceptionally well. In the case of Spencer, he can't get published in the mainstream because his work isn't good enough, something which anyone can verify for themselves if they're willing to do the reading. But that doesn't make for an interesting or sensationalist story, does it? Much easier to just repeat the same old misinformation as though it came from reputable sources.

      carolinebza - 2012-01-03 22:20

      Andrew: re climate sensitivity, is your opinion based on peer-reviewed science? I didn't say anything about the correctness or otherwise of the article on sharks - straw man. At this stage no-one knows whether the current earthquakes and tsunamis are climate-change related, but there's a lot of work underway which suggests that they are. The mechanism is extremely simple: in a warming climate, land ice masses are melting fast, reducing the pressure on the tectonic plate underneath. There is also pressure on the sides of the sea bed from thermal expansion of the deep ocean (which is where most of the excess heat is going). So destabilising of plate boundaries as a result is nothing exceptional. What is not known is whether there is a sufficient statistical correlation between warming and an increase in frequency/intensity of seismic events, but it's an active area of research.

      Gungets - 2012-01-03 22:34

      @Caroline - they are not going to lower my premiuns, whatever happens with "global warming". This article started with sharks, how fitting that it should end with the human equivalent of sharks - the insurers. They must be loving the free justification to just do what the hell they want. Will be interesting to see their profits as this thing develops.

      mike.clery - 2012-01-03 22:52

      @carolinebza at 22:14. I'd be more inclined to accept the gatekeeping as quality-control IF terms like "climate denialist" (which clearly indicates bias) weren't used by the scientific community. How can we accept that scientists are objective when they engage in emotional public attacks on one another?

      carolinebza - 2012-01-03 23:12

      @Mike at 22:52, firstly I think the mud-slinging happens on both sides - there's a blogging and opinion piece debate which has taken on its own life and doesn't have much to do with the science any more. Secondly I'd say given the personal and political harassment to which many climate scientists are subjected, they actually display remarkable restraint (look at Mann and the UEA scientists accused in ClimateGate - they have all been exonerated multiple times, and their results confirmed, yet they still get accused on assorted blogs of everything from hiding data to trying to take over the world as though it was fact, as well as being subjected to endless FOIA requests and faux investigations, and yet generally they behave very well and don't retaliate in kind.) But most importantly, they don't have to behave like angels as long as they remain scientifically objective ands rigorous, and in general they almost always do, because that's what makes scientists tick - being able to demonstrate in a public and verifiable way that they are right about something. Unfortunately the difference between demonstrably valid research and amorphous fluff from the blogosphere seldom makes it out beyond the technical discussions (if I had a rand for every time I've read someone claiming that the UEA scientists "hid a decline" in temperature, I wouldn't be sitting here analysing data in the middle of the night and chirping on news 24 in the meantime!).

      Andrew - 2012-01-04 06:54

      @ Caroline. 1. I expressed a personal opinion(as a very long practicing process engineer with a very deep understanding of thermodynamics, mass heat and energy transfer and fluid dynamics) - I am entitled to my opinion - but you did not address my concern (called it a staw man - but the article in question was exactly about sharks - the link to climate change is speculative and presposterous) 2. You have finally lost it and exposed your own sillyness - there is no way that earthquakes can be caused by climate change - please use some logic if you have any! Your argument about the weight of ice on tectonic plates is so ridiculous - Ice is lighter than water (this is why my ice cubes float on my whisky) - most of the tectonic plates are under water. this is again a stupid attempt to link anything and everything to climate chnage. Your comments have mostly ben quite resonable - but really you have now lost me completely and I have to dismiss you as a complete sensationalist charletan!

  • TheBinkyp - 2012-01-04 05:46

     

  • Andrew - 2012-01-04 07:10

    Also @caroline ... The mass of ice on the continents that is supposedly melting away at alarming rates is insignificant compared to weight of the continents themselves. The fault that caused the Japanese earthquake is certainly under water and I do not believe Japan is covered in ice (unless we've recently had a period of intense cooling that I haven't heard about). The speculation about weight of ice was in fact written in a ridiculous article published in a russian journal about the icelandic volcano and was exactly that - speculation with absolutely no evidence, data or calculations! If you want people to accept your arguments, them at least make them logical!

  • branden.hart - 2012-01-04 08:04

    Put that in your pipe ad smoke it you creationist fossils :)

  • jandreleroux - 2012-01-04 08:11

    This is just speculation upon speculation upon speculation! Also rather misleading! Just because scientist saw something for the first time does not by any stretch of imagination imply that is the first time it has happened. If If If it could mean we thought we Speculation.

  • nawtymonz - 2012-01-04 08:44

    Mothernature 1 - Humans 0

  • Jacques Jacobs - 2012-01-04 09:07

    As a conservationist I want to raise some points here: 1) These two species are very close and probably originated from the same species in the first place so why wouldn't they breed? 2) I'm not denying global warming at all but why are they blaming this? I would look into shark fishing declining the numbers to such a state where the sharks cannot find mates of their own species. Just my two cents worth...

      Andrew - 2012-01-04 10:25

      Absolutely right Jacques - in order to link this to AGW, we first must prove that this new "hybrid" species was not around pre the industrial revolution - they have not proven that. then they need to string together a hypothesis (if the former is the case) that makes some logical sense and is supported by scientific thinking. So sharks adapting to warming oceans by becoming more like their cousins that are better adapted to colder oceans simply does not make sense. We need to stop linking everything to AGW - we may miss the true causes of many observations by our blinkered dogma (like perhaps your overfishing thoughts).

      Chum Scrubber - 2012-01-04 18:31

      I think both your points are valid, Jacques. Good value for two cents.

  • Deon - 2012-01-04 10:30

    Very Interesting, but I just love it when they bring the phrase "This is Evolution in Action" into the fray. The word Evolution is used very generically to describe a process, however in this case it would be correct to refer to it as Microevolution, which occurs very commonly. I just hate it when they generalize and people actually believe that Evolution is possible, when in fact it has not been proven as it is only a Theory.

  • tony.delucchi - 2012-01-04 12:19

    ....sharks mating with sharks how positively evolutionary! I suppose the domestic cat which was bred out of various cross breeding is also evolutionary? I mean really?

      modo - 2012-01-04 15:24

      Yeah it is actually. That's how evolution works. Small adaptive micro-evolutionary changes compound over millions of years until the overall change is so great that the resulting offspring can no longer be considered as the same species.

  • simpsonite - 2012-01-04 15:17

    I have never in all my life read a more idiotic article!!! Your evidence about "global warming" has reached a new low. A shark mates with a shark and that is proof of global warming ... You have to love these radical environmentalists/lefties .... they can't loose the argument; if it snows its global warming, if there are droughts it is global warming, if there are floods it is global warming, if there are hurricanes its global warming, if there are no hurricanes its global warming, if the world is getting hotter its global warming, if the world is getting colder is global warming, if there are clouds its global warming, if there are no clouds is global warming, and now if sharks mate its global warming.

      Chum Scrubber - 2012-01-04 18:33

      True, but they certainly realise something is not lekker on our planet. How do you feel, everything hunky dory?

  • adamafrica - 2012-01-05 03:44

    wow!

  • Tozer559 - 2012-01-05 19:34

    I don't think the insinuation that deliberate hybridisation is taking place is right. A shift in ranges of a few km due to sea temperature change might be responmsibly for a greater overlap in ranges. Or perhaps this has always gone on and like most things we have just not noticed yet.

  • Art - 2012-01-08 08:58

    I wonder if there could be one that is half hammer head shark and half great white shark.

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