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South Carolina team finds new hammerhead shark species

By Ashley Fantz, CNN
November 8, 2013 -- Updated 2103 GMT (0503 HKT)
The new species looks similar to the pictured scalloped hammerhead shark.
The new species looks similar to the pictured scalloped hammerhead shark.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Carolina hammerhead features are indistinguishable from common scalloped hammerhead
  • University of South Carolina biology professor Joe Quattro led researchers
  • The state is a well-known pupping ground for several species of sharks

(CNN) -- A team of University of South Carolina researchers has made a remarkable discovery: a rare new breed of hammerhead shark it has dubbed the Carolina hammerhead.

The shark's outward features are indistinguishable from those of the common scalloped hammerhead, a kind of low profile that allowed it to go for so long without detection, according to a USC news release.

What's new and distinct about the new species is that it has 10 fewer vertebrae than a scalloped hammerhead.

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South Carolina ichthyologist Joe Quattro, a USC biology professor, helped make the discovery.

"South Carolina is a well-known pupping ground for several species of sharks, including the hammerhead," according to the USC release. "The female hammerhead will birth her young at the ocean-side fringes of the estuary; the pups remain there for a year or so, growing, before moving out to the ocean to complete their life cycle."

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