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Baby sharks survive on 'super liver'


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Baby sharks survive on 'super liver'

By Murray Cornish

Marine biologists have discovered shark pups feed off their livers during the first few months of life.

Scientists have found that sharks are born with enlarged 'super livers' that act as a food source during the most vulnerable period of their lives.

It was previously thought that live born sharks suffered a high mortality rate because they were born into the ocean needing to find food immediately.

Australian Institute of Marine Science researcher Aaron MacNeil says sharks have evolved into one of the most successful species on earth.

Dr MacNeil says now that scientists understand how juveniles survive, it will be easier to protect them.

"We can target conservation efforts to those very important years where they're producing the most pups as well as the strongest pups and the pups most likely to survive," he said.

"That will all go back into feeding into rebuilding shark populations."

Dr MacNeil says sharks have been swimming the oceans for hundreds of millions of years and they are far from primitive.

"They're much more likely to survive when they're born than we previously thought," he said.

"That's important because sharks are threatened generally around the world and their ability to survive and to reproduce at a high level is becoming increasingly important."


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