2-Headed Shark Fetus Found off Florida Keys


2-headed shark fetus was discovered by a Florida fisherman, according to a study published Monday.

People look at a dead bull shark on a dock July 2, 2005 in Destin, Florida. On March 25, 2013, it was reported that a fisherman discovered a bull shark with a two-headed fetus. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

A man fishing off the Florida Keys recently caught a bull shark containing a live fetus that has an odd feature: two heads.

The fisherman kept the shark specimen and shared with scientists before they published their findings in a Journal of Fish Biology study on Monday, according to LiveScience.com, which published photos of the fetus.

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An abstract of the study said the fisherman found the specimen in April 2011. The abstract said it was the “first recorded incidence of dicephalia in a bull shark Carcharhinus leucas is reported from a foetus collected by a fisherman.”

“External examination, Radiography and magnetic resonance imaging revealed a case of monosomic dicephalia where the axial skeleton and internal organs were found to divide into parallel systems anterior to the pectoral girdle resulting in two well-developed heads,” the abstract reads.

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Researchers noted that it is one of the few examples of a two-headed shark ever recorded. There have been around six previous specimens that were noted.

“Halfway through the process of forming twins, the embryo stops dividing,” Michael Wagner, who helped author the study, told the website, elaborating on why the fetus has two heads. It said that it is called “axial bifurcation,” a rarity among animals.

If the shark makes it in the wild, it likely will not survive for very long, he said.

“When you’re a predator that needs to move fast to catch other fast-moving fish … that’d be nearly impossible with this mutation,” he told the website.

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