When new species are found near populated areas, they are often small and inconspicuous, not, for example, a hammerhead shark.
But that's exactly what a team of researchers discovered along the coast of South Carolina. The new species looks virtually identical to the scalloped hammerhead, but is genetically distinct, and contains about 10 fewer vertebrae, or segments of backbone, new research shows.
The new species, named the Carolina hammerhead (Sphyrna gilbert), gives birth to shark "pups" in estuaries near the shore off the Carolinas, according to a study published in August in the journal Zootaxa.
To find the shark, scientists led by University of South Carolina fish expert Joe Quattro collected 80 young sharks that looked liked scalloped hammerheads. They then analyzed their DNA, and found that they were distinct from their scalloped cousins. Further analysis found more subtle differences; the new species is slightly smaller, for instance, according to the study. Of these 80 sharks, 54 of them belonged to the new species, the study noted.
For the full story, visit http://www.nbcnews.com/science/new-hammerhead-shark-species-found-south-carolina-8C11566213