The unusual front fins of epaulette sharks (Hemiscyllium ocellatum) help them do something no other shark species can do: walk on land.

‘Walking sharks’ caught on video, astound scientists

On a remote outcropping at nightfall on the coast of Papua New Guinea on May 3, 2022, scientists encountered something amazing: a walking shark. Using its fins to drag itself, the diminutive tan-and-black-speckled shark shimmied across a tide pool that contained barely enough water to skim its belly, moving like a lumbering sea lion as it dragged its body across the shore.

The creature was an epaulette shark (Hemiscyllium ocellatum), and it is unique among shark species in its ability to walk on land. Forrest Galante, a conservationist and biologist, recently shared rare footage of this unusual species in a new special for Discovery Channel’s Shark Week called “Island of the Walking Sharks (opens in new tab).”

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