2-Headed Shark Fetus Caught Off Florida Keys: See Photos Of First Two-Headed Bull Shark Ever Recorded

By Staff Reporter on March 25, 2013 5:52 PM EDT

2-headed bull shark fetus (Photo: Journal of Fish Biology)
2-headed bull shark fetus (Photo: Journal of Fish Biology)

A rare 2-headed shark fetus was discovered by a fisherman just off the Florida Keys coast. According to reports, the fisherman caught a bull shark and discovered the shark possessed a live fetus with two heads!

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According to scientists, the odd 2-headed specimen would not have lived very long in the wild. Michigan State University researcher Michael Wagner shared his thoughts on the creature:

"When you're a predator that needs to move fast to catch other fast-moving fish... that'd be nearly impossible with this mutation."

The fisherman shared his rare discovery with scientists. On March 25, the research team finally published the study online via the Journal of Fish Biology. According to records, only six 2-headed sharks have ever been studied. In fact, the latest specimen is the first bull shark with the bizarre characteristic.

The 2-headed deformity is technically known as "axial bifurcation." Scientists explain that the deformity occurs when the embryo fails to split two separate organisms, or twins, completely. This is a very rare mutation that occurs in a number of animals, including humans. "Halfway through the process of forming twins, the embryo stops dividing," Wagner explains.

Michael Wagner and his team of researchers hope the information learned from the deformed shark can allow scientists to one day better understand deformities that arise in sharks.

2-headed bull shark fetus (Photo: Journal of Fish Biology)
2-headed bull shark fetus (Photo: Journal of Fish Biology)
2-headed bull shark fetus (Photo: Journal of Fish Biology)
2-headed bull shark fetus (Photo: Journal of Fish Biology)

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