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The Nanaue (there is no wiki link) is a Hawaiian creature of myth. It is a shark with arms and legs. It can live in both the ocean and on the land. So how do I create the monstrosity that is, the land shark?

A list of all of the Anatomically Correct questions can be found here

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  • $\begingroup$ There's nothing anatomically causing a land shark to be impossible. The only reason it doesn't exist in our world today is because the current existing species, the sharks who specialized in the water, out competed any possible mutation that may have lead to an actual land shark. $\endgroup$ – Aify Jan 11 '16 at 23:00
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    $\begingroup$ That myth looks like it's more along the lines of a were-shark, not a shark with arms and legs. But hey, whatever floats your goat. $\endgroup$ – Xandar The Zenon Jan 11 '16 at 23:52
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Seagong crocodiles exist, and there was a period where crocodilians were rapidly evolving to fill multiple vacant niches (dinosaurs and mammals just were better at it, so we won). So theoretically, an advanced saltwater crocodile might have the adaptations you want.

Crocodile evolution

The problem is that evolution favours adaptations that make the creature better able to function in a particular environment. A seagoing crocodile will become more like a seal or a real shark (notice the one who's legs have turned into paddles), while land going ones get longer legs, more ground clearance and beginning to look like dogs or even velociraptors. These one's are not going to do at all well in the water. Modern crocodiles are the way they are because the shallow waters near the edge of bodies of water are a specialized environment that they have adapted to so well the basic crocodilian body plan has survived since the Jurrasic period.

Evolution does not favour the creation of a natural "land shark" however.

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The way I see it, you have two options.

Option one, darwinism/evolution.

enter image description here

Or, you could go with an alligator. Alligators are similar to sharks, and they are amphibious. Perhaps these alligators adapted to be able to swim in ocean water, instead of freshwater. Then they discovered their love for human flesh... Anyway, I think this would be a more likely prospect.

enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ Love the description of an Alligator as a Landshark... Makes a ton of sense. $\endgroup$ – ench Jan 11 '16 at 22:53
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    $\begingroup$ I'm curious how that fish is standing. Judging by the eye that it lacks, it appears to be dead. Undead land sharks? O.O $\endgroup$ – DoubleDouble Jan 11 '16 at 23:16
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    $\begingroup$ It's a trap! ;) $\endgroup$ – Xandar The Zenon Jan 11 '16 at 23:21
  • $\begingroup$ Saltwater gator :D $\endgroup$ – Shalvenay Jan 11 '16 at 23:43
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For the purposes of this, sharks don't have skeletons! The Nanaue would need one to hold itself up on land.

Then there's the problem of it having gills instead of lungs. I don't know of any creatures that breath above and below water.

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  • $\begingroup$ Crabs? Gills under the carapace work if not submerged just as long as they stay wet. $\endgroup$ – JDługosz Feb 8 '16 at 4:44
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    $\begingroup$ This would be a better answer if you brought a summary of the link into the answer. Links change or die. Explaining what sharks have, why it won't work for arms and legs, and what would need to change to accomodate arms and legs would perfect the answer. $\endgroup$ – JBH Apr 2 '18 at 19:13
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There are already 'fish' adaptations that meet this description (so reptiles and amphibians need not be involved). They are just not all present in a single fish/shark species at the same time, or to the same extremes in the same fish species.

Here is a shark that can already "live" out of the water

Here is a fish that can REALLY last a long time out of water (though, admitedly not a 'shark' specifically)

This fish has legs (again, not a shark, but still...)

There have been evolutionary pressures to cause not just any fish, but sharks specifically, to be able to leave the water, at least temporarily. There have been evolutionary pressures for fish to last a long time out of water, and grow what are functionally (if not by definition) legs.

It's not a big leap to think a shark could combine these, along with increased size, and that would match the description very well, especially if the "arms and legs" description is taken no more literally than absolutely necessary.

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