A fisherman recently caught a two-headed baby shark off the Indian coast of Maharashtra and threw it back into the water – but not before taking pictures of the rare find.
“We don’t eat such small fish, especially sharks, so it seemed strange to me, but I still decided to throw it away,” Nitin Patil told the Hindustan Times.
A fellow fisherman, Umesh Palekar, said: “We have never seen anything like this before.”
Biologists have examined images of the six-inch fish and found that it is either a spade or a sharp-nosed shark, according to the outcome.
Mutations with two heads are becoming more common, but no one knows exactly why, writes National Geographic in 2016. The natural opening offers several possible factors for malformations, including pollution and “declining gene pool due to overfishing.”
Yet the latest discovery is unusual.
Scientists and marine biologists say the two-headed shark caught by Patil may be the first along approximately 450 miles of Maharashtra’s coastline.
“Our records show that two-headed sharks are very rarely reported on the head of the Indian coast,” a scientist from the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute told the Hindustan Times.
Anomalies can also occur in freshwater fish. Lake trout with two mouths was caught in 2019.
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