4 Jan 2012

Hybrid shark found off Australian coast

10:02 am on 4 January 2012

The discovery of the world's first hybrid sharks off the east coast of Australia suggests sharks are adapting to cope with climate change, marine biologists believe.

They say the mating of the Australian black-tip shark with its genetically different global counterpart, the common black-tip, is an unprecedented development with implications for the shark world, the ABC reports.

Jennifer Ovenden, of the Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, says scientists found 57 of the hybrid sharks in a 2000km stretch of coast.

Ms Ovenden says the inter-breeding allows the smaller Australian black-tip, which can only live in tropical waters, to range further south as its usual habitat grows too warm.