New shark-related species of the Galapagos islands, older than dinosaurs

From the Contra Costa Times in the USA:

Bay Area team discovers new fish

SAN FRANCISCO: Shark ancestors that predate the dinosaurs dwell deep in the ocean near Galapagos Islands

By Matt Krupnick


It’s amazing what you find lying around the bottom of the ocean, as St. Mary’s College professor Douglas Long has discovered.

Long was part of a team of researchers who this year identified two new species of deep-sea fish: unusual-looking shark ancestors that broke off on their own evolutionary path more than 320 million years ago.

The creatures, named the Galapagos and whitespot ghost sharks, were found more than 1,200 feet underwater near the Galapagos Islands in 1995, sucked through a vacuum tube into a research submarine.

Long and his team spent more than a decade making sure they were new species before publishing their results in the journal Zootaxa in October and December.

“They’ve been on their own branch of the evolutionary tree since well before the dinosaurs,” said Long, 40, who has taught biology at St. Mary’s since 1994. The Oakland resident also has taught at UC Berkeley and does research at the California Academy of Sciences.

These species belong to the Hydrolagus genus of the chimaeras.

Albino white spotted ratfish: here.

4 thoughts on “New shark-related species of the Galapagos islands, older than dinosaurs

  1. New Shark Species Named After [California] Academy Scientist

    New shark species

    Dr. John McCosker, Chair of the Department of Aquatic Biology, has been immortalized in the name of a new shark species: Hydrolagus mccoskeri, or the Galapagos ghost shark. McCosker first discovered the strange, rabbit-faced creature in 1995, while diving in a submersible over 1,200 feet underwater. After a decade of careful examination, the shark was designated a new species in an October 2006 issue of Zootaxa. McCosker called the naming “a great honor.”


  2. Shark documentary packs considerable bite

    By Michael Rechtshaffen 1 hour, 42 minutes ago 23 10 2007

    LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter)- Looking to reclaim some of the integrity snatched away by Messrs. Benchley and Spielberg, “Sharkwater” is both a startlingly photographed portrait of that maligned denizen of the deep and a chronicle of filmmaker Rob Stewart’s efforts to curb rampant shark poaching in Costa Rica and the Galapagos Islands.

    While those twin intentions don’t always merge swimmingly, Stewart’s documentary is seldom less than compelling in its quest to raise international awareness about a situation that is threatening to put sharks on the endangered list.

    The Canadian production, which had the largest opening of any indigenous documentary when it opened north of the border in March, should attract some “An Inconvenient Truth”-style attention when it opens November 2 in 20 U.S. markets on the heels of a regional Florida release last month.

    Stewart, an award-winning photographer who has been swimming with the sharks since he was a child, initially sets out to show the heavily sensationalized creatures through his eyes, intermingling the vibrantly breathtaking HD footage with archival snippets of old black-and-white shark attack instructional films.

    Myths are debunked in the process, with narrator Stewart noting that in 2005, human encounters with the mighty predator led to just five fatalities worldwide, a fraction of the deaths caused each year by tigers and charging elephants.

    But what starts off as something of a marine version of “Grizzly Man” soon changes course when Stewart hooks up with renegade conservationist and Greenpeace co-founder Paul Watson.

    It turns out that China’s appetite for shark fins — specifically for soups and medicinal purposes — has created a multibillion-dollar shark-finning industry, and though some countries have banned the practice, illegal long-line fishing has contributed to the slaughter of 100 million sharks a year.

    A trek taken by Watson and Stewart to Cocos Island off Costa Rica uncovers the presence of dozens of clandestine shark fin-drying operations overseen by the Taiwanese mafia, contributing to the serious depletion of the world’s shark populations.

    In between all the environmental derring-do, ducking both pirates and police, Stewart finds himself sidelined with a life-threatening flesh-eating virus, but it isn’t long before he again takes up the cause.

    With all that stirring underwater photographer and a buoyant, propulsive score by Jeff Rona — complemented by song selections from Nina Simone, Portishead and, appropriately, Moby — it’s hard to resist climbing aboard.

    Director-writer-director of photography: Rob Stewart; Producers: Rob Stewart, Brian Stewart; Executive producer: Sandra Campbell; Music: Jeff Rona; Editors: Rob Stewart, Michael Clarke, Jeremy Stuart, Rick Morden.

    Reuters/Hollywood Reporter


  3. Pingback: Sharks, 450 million years ago till today | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  4. Pingback: New ghostshark species discovered in California | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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