'Extinct' Shark Found —at Fish Market

Smoothtooth blacktip is alive and apparently tasty
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 14, 2014 1:38 AM CST
Updated Jan 14, 2014 8:19 AM CST
'Extinct' Shark Found ... at Fish Market
Conservation researchers have been spending a lot of time at fish markets.   (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

The smoothtooth blacktip shark isn't quite as extinct as scientists had believed it to be, say researchers who found one for sale in a Kuwait fish market. Further research in the region turned up another 47 specimens of the shark, though the only one previously known to scientists was a specimen brought back to the Vienna Museum in 1902 by a naturalist who had visited Yemen. The find "doesn’t necessarily mean the sharks are thriving and totally safe from being snuffed," notes Sarah Laskow at Grist, but "scientists maybe need to look a little harder before declaring a species extinct."

Fish market surveys are an increasingly important part of conservation research, the lead researcher says, though they require hard work, early starts, and sometimes a strong stomach. At the markets, "although sometimes bemused by what we are doing, they are generally very tolerant of weird foreigners poking around, and we've met some incredibly generous, funny, and helpful people—we've even been given breakfast," he tells Scientific American. (More sharks stories.)

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