A new research published this week in Marine and Freshwater Research showed that four new shark species that walk were discovered.

Shark scientists spent years sampling the DNA of the only walking shark species they found to know when they evolved. During their investigation, they found four more species. The youngest of the four species might have evolved less than two million years ago.

“The discovery proved that modern sharks have remarkable evolutionary staying power and the ability to adapt to environmental changes,” said Mark Erdmann, the paper’s co-author and Conservation International Vice President of Asia-Pacific marine programs, according to a CNN report.

 Also called as “epaulette” sharks due to their spots that look like a military décor, walking sharks use their muscular fins to walk and look for small fish to eat along the shallow reefs and sea grass. Unlike some shark species who venture deep underwater, walking sharks like the shallow waters.

According to the report, sharks were among the “most affected” animals during mass extinction events. When sea levels rose and the ocean temperatures dropped, sharks were forced to migrate to warmer waters.

Erdmann said they hope the research would encourage conservationists to consider other shark species to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List to protect the species as very little is known about them.

“A global recognition of the need to protect walking sharks will help ensure they thrive providing benefits for marine ecosystems and to local communities through the sharks’ value as tourism assets,” he said, according to a CNN report. “It’s essential that local communities, governments and the international public continue working to establish marine protected areas to help ensure our ocean’s biodiversity continues to flourish.”

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