Discovery of an Ancient Shark Nursery

Written by on January 8, 2014 in Other News

Daily Summary

Ancient sharks reared young in prehistoric river-delta nursery
Paleontologists recently found evidence of one of the earliest known shark nurseries. Around 310 million years ago, Bandringa sharks (bottom-feeding predators that lived in ancient river delta systems) migrated downstream from their freshwater swamps to tropical coastlines to spawn. These findings also mark the earliest known example of a shark migration and the only known example of a freshwater to saltwater shark migration. The Bandringa resembles present-day sawfish and is likely one of the earliest close relatives of modern sharks.

Bandringa fossil.

Bandringa fossil. Photo credit: jsj1771 via photopin cc.

Icelandic brewery uses dead whales in its beer
Yep – you read that correctly. Icelandic Steðjar brewery and fin whaling company, Hvalur, have teamed up to create ‘whale beer’ which is made with whale meal. The brewery claims that this unique beer is healthy because whale meal is rich in protein and contains almost no fat. Endangered fin whale products have previously been used in dog treats, and to make fuel to power Hvalur’s own whaling vessels. WDC says these are examples of how desperate Hvalur is to find new outlets for whale products.

UPDATE January 13 — Whale beer won’t be happening after all. The Public Health Authority of Vesturland says the whale meal used in the beer “fails food regulations.” Learn more here.

Three shells of conch snails.

Three shells of conch snails. Photo credit: smallislander via photopin cc.

Jumping snails left grounded in future oceans
Another side effect of rising carbon dioxide emissions involves sea snails. The conch snail that uses its strong foot to leap away from approaching predators may soon lose its jumping ability. When exposed to the levels of carbon dioxide projected for the end of this century, the snails either stopped jumping or took longer to jump. This is because increases in ocean acidification levels disrupt the snail’s nervous system, which delays decision-making on escape and leaves the snail more vulnerable to predators. The question now is whether the snails can adapt fast enough to keep up with rising carbon dioxide levels and ocean acidification.

Copyright © 2014 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .


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