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Aussie sea hybrids

A young dusky whaler shark
A young dusky whaler shark Brett Wortman

SCIENTISTS found the world's first hybrid sharks in Aussie waters.

Leading marine biology researchers have discovered 57 crossbreeds along a 2000km stretch from Queensland to New South Wales.

The predators are a cross between the common blacktip shark and Australian blacktip shark, two related but genetically distinct species.

Scientists say interbreeding between the two shark species is a sign the animals are adapting to climate change and warn that hybridisation could make the sharks stronger.

Dr Jennifer Ovenden, of the Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, said wild hybrids were usually hard to find, so detecting hybrids and their offspring was extraordinary.

"To find 57 hybrids along 2000km of coastline is unprecedented," she said.

Topics:  gympie scientists sharks

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