Rare Magamouth Shark Captured In Japan The Latest In A Spate Of Unusual Sea Creature Sightings [VIDEO]

By Ben Wolford on May 9, 2014 1:47 PM EDT

This megamouth shark drew crowds in Japan this week for its public necropsy. (Photo: Screenshot/YouTube)
This megamouth shark drew crowds in Japan this week for its public necropsy. (Photo: Screenshot/YouTube)

The megamouth shark is so rarely seen and studied that biologists can't figure out how to classify it. In fact, until 1976 no one had ever seen one, and its discovery mandated a need for a new family, genus, and species, according to the Florida Museum of Natural History.

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On Tuesday, scientists in Japan confirmed the 54th sighting of the megamouth shark (Megachasma pelagios) and proceeded to cut it open in front of scores of curious onlookers. The Huffington Post reports that the lady shark was caught about a half-mile below the ocean's surface (she thought she safe!) off the coast of Shizuoka, Japan. The Marine Science Museum there was conducting the public necropsy.

This shark weighed about 1,500 lbs. (Photo: Screenshot/YouTube)
This shark weighed about 1,500 lbs. (Photo: Screenshot/YouTube)

Sea monsters don't seem to want to stay underwater this week. There was the blue whale that washed ashore in Canada and is stinking up a small Newfoundland town. For a while they thought it might explode because its belly was filling up with methane, but now people are saying it's been deflating for the past few days. Then there was the other weird shark that a fisherman pulled up in the Gulf of Mexico. The goblin shark was the second caught in those waters. When pictures of it floated around online, scientists studied it and found a pile of more creepy animals, giant isopods, or "roly polies the size of your face."

Some scientists think the megamouth shark is the most primitive animal in the world, like raising a dinosaur from the depths. Their mouths are so large because they've adapted to eat plankton like basking sharks. But no one is sure whether they evolved from a branch of a similar kind or whether they developed their bucket-sized boca all on their own.

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