As if the shark-scare wasn’t bad enough, scientists have now come across a sawtail catshark that actually has two heads! They found it in the Mediterranean and are calling it the first case of a two-headed shark developing in a shark species that lays eggs. The Journal of Fish Biology features the article, and they say that it’s a species of shark that is endangered and lives only in the Mediterranean.
Nearly 800 embryos were collected by scientists to study the cardiovascular systems. One of the embryos had two heads! Each head had a mouth, eyes, brains, gills, and each had two livers and stomachs. They shared a single intestine. Dicephaly is the name of this condition and turns out it is pretty rare in the animal kingdom. It can indeed happen in numerous species though, even people!
Dicephaly in sharks have previously only been found in species that gave birth to live young or laid eggs which were hatched inside the mother, so this finding is indeed noteworthy.
So are you going to have to worry about your surfboard being bitten off at both ends in the future?
Likely not. George Burgess is the director of shark research at the Florida Museum of Natural History, and he said the following regarding the two-headed shark:
“There’s a reason you don’t see a lot of sharks with two heads swimming around: They stand out like a sore thumb, so they get eaten.”
Nevertheless, pretty amazing discovery!