Who knew sharks could walk?
Four new species of sharks that use their fins to walk have been discovered in waters off northern Australia and New Guinea, according to a new study.
It may sounds scary, but researchers say only small fish and invertebrates need to worry.
"At less than a meter long on average, walking sharks present no threat to people but their ability to withstand low oxygen environments and walk on their fins gives them a remarkable edge over their prey of small crustaceans and molluscs," study lead author Christine Dudgeon, a scientist at Australia's University of Queensland, said in a statement.
The four new species almost double the total number of known walking shark species to nine.
"Instead of swimming around, these little bottom-dwelling sharks actually 'walk' using their pectoral and pelvic fins, which makes it easier for them to poke their heads under coral and rocks as they look for small fish, snails and crustaceans to eat," said study co-author Mark Erdmann of Conservation International.
Walking sharks evolved "just" 9 million years ago, making them the “youngest” sharks on our planet, according to Erdmann.
"The discovery proves that modern sharks have remarkable evolutionary staying power and the ability to adapt to environmental changes," Erdmann told CNN.
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Dudgeon said "data suggests the new species evolved after the sharks moved away from their original population, became genetically isolated in new areas and developed into new species.
"They may have moved by swimming or walking on their fins, but it's also possible they 'hitched' a ride on reefs moving westward across the top of New Guinea, about two million years ago."
And they may not be the only ones still around, Dudgeon added.
"We believe there are more walking shark species still waiting to be discovered," she said
The study was published this week in the journal Marine and Freshwater Research.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Walking sharks discovered near Australia