Sharktopus and Dinoshark may be the products of Hollywood, but a two-headed bull shark found in the Gulf of Mexico is all too real, according to scientists with Florida Keys Community College and Michigan State Community College.
The scientists have confirmed that the shark, discovered in April 2011, is the first of its kind and is a single shark with two heads and not conjoined twins.
"This is certainly one of those interesting and rarely detected phenomena," MSU assistant professor of fisheries and wildlife Michael Wagner said in a statement from the school Monday. "It’s good that we have this documented as part of the world’s natural history, but we’d certainly have to find many more before we could draw any conclusions about what caused this."
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The shark was found by a fisherman when he opened the uterus of an adult shark. It died shortly thereafter and was brought to the marine science department at FKCC, where it was then transported to Michigan State.
Wagner and his team discovered two distinct heads, hearts and stomachs, with the rest of the body joining together in the back to form a single tail.
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Creatures found with abnormalities like this usually die shortly after birth, and the two-headed bull shark had little, if any, chance to survive in the wild, Wagner said.
Other species, including blue sharks and tope sharks, have been born with two heads, as well as lizards and snakes, Wagner said.