A research paper published in August described a new species of shark, the Carolina hammerhead (Sphyrna gilbert), from coastal areas off the Carolinas in the United States. The new species is smaller than the closely-related scalloped hammerhead.
Finding a new species is, among biologists, equal to hitting the jackpot.University of South Carolina ichthyologist Joe Quattro led a team that recently cleared the bases. In the scientific journal Zootaxa, they describe a rare hammerhead shark, the Carolina hammerhead, that had long eluded discovery because it is outwardly indistinguishable from the common scalloped hammerhead. Through its rarity, the new species, Sphyrna gilberti, underscores the fragility of shark diversity in the face of relentless human predation.