(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.
South Carolina ichthyologist Joe Quattro, a USC biology professor, made 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.”