They say two heads are better than one, but it’s not clear if this applies to sharks.
On Friday, Nitin Patil, a fisherman from Palghar, India, caught a six-inch baby shark that had two heads.
“We don’t eat such small fish, especially sharks, so I thought it was weird, but decided to throw it out anyway,” Patil told the Hindustan Times on Monday.
But before throwing the shark into the sea, Patil took several photos of the creature, which have since been posted on Twitter.
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Another fisherman who saw the little double-headed shark, Umesh Palekar, told the Hindustan Times the photos were shared with researchers to try and find out where the sharks came from.
“We’ve never seen anything like it before,” Palekar told the newspaper. “We think one of the bigger sharks may have given birth to this baby double-headed shark.”
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Scientists at the Indian Council for Agricultural Research – Central Institute for Marine Fisheries Research (ICAR-CMFRI) in Mumbai, told the outlet that the find may be the first time a double-headed shark has been seen on the coast of Maharashtra in India.
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Dr Akhilesh KV, an ICAR-CMFRI scientist, told the Hindustan Times that the shark looked like a spadenose shark or a sharp-nosed shark.
“Both are viviparous and are common in the waters of Maharashtra,” Akhilesh said.
Viviparous means “to give birth to living young which have developed inside the body of the parent,” the journal writes.
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Marine biologist Swapnil Tandel told the Hindustan Times that the deformation could have several causes.
“These findings are so rare that it is difficult to find a cause for the anomaly,” Tandel said. “Genetic or metabolic disorders, viruses, pollution or overfishing could be the reasons.”
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