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Ancient Knowledge & Archaeology

Daily Dose Of Ancient Knowledge & Archaeology

Learn about the history of the two-headed shark

Since 2008, Two-Headed Sharks have appeared, and specialists have been attempting to determine the cause.

Although two-headed sharks may sound like something from a B-movie, they are a real phenomenon. Even more puzzling is the fact that more of these mutant fish have been discovered in recent years.

Scientists are unable to determine the specific cause of this oddity, although it is fair to assume that overfishing, genetic mutations, chemical pollution, etc. are among the culprits.

Recent Finds of Two-Headed Sharks

Off the coast of Florida, fishermen discovered a bull shark fetus with two heads.

In 2008, another fisherman spotted a blue shark embryo with two heads while fishing in the Indian Ocean.

Years later, in 2011, a research conducted by Felipe Galván-Magaa described the finding of blue sharks with two heads. The specimens were captured in the Gulf of California and in the vicinity of northwest Mexico.

 So far, blue sharks take the lead for producing the most recorded newborn two-headed sharks and embryos. The study concluded that this is due to the fact that blue sharks carry so many babies: often up to 50 pups at a time.

Galván-Magaa reportedly claimed sighting additional deformed sharks, including a ‘cyclops’ shark with a single eye that was captured off the coast of Mexico in 2011. This shark had only one eye, which was located in the front of its head.

These disorders may be traced back to a congenital anomaly known as cyclopia, which affects both humans and animals.

Recently, a group of Spanish researchers led by Professor Valentn Sans-Coma (University of Malaga) discovered the embryo of a two-headed Atlantic Sawtail catshark. Actually, this is the first report of two-headed sharks among species of oviparous sharks (sharks that lay eggs). Their findings were eventually published in the Journal of Fish Biology.

Nicolas Ehemann, a marine biologist, has lately investigated two instances of sharks with two heads. A smalleye smooth-hound shark was followed by a blue shark. Both species were discovered in the same seas off Margarita Island, Venezuela.

Both creatures were the first two-headed sharks ever documented from the Caribbean Sea.

Some Quick Facts About Two-Headed Sharks And Other Two-Headed Animals.

  • The condition is referred to as polycephaly, derived from the Greek word poly (many) and kephale (head). Two-headed animals are called bicephalic or dicephalic.
  • Normally, each head has its own brain but shares control of other organs and limbs with the other head(s).
  • Such animals hardly ever live beyond a few months after birth. But a few do.
  • The brains contend with each other for control, as a result, the animal tends to move around in a dizzy or disoriented manner.
  • In some animals, the heads may regard the other head(s) as an enemy. For instance, in the case of snakes, one head could attack and even try to swallow the other one.

What Is Causing The Rise In Numbers Of Two-Headed Sharks?

Since the 1800s, the exceedingly unusual multiple-headed mutation in animals has been observed.

There have been two-headed goats, lambs, snakes, and kittens, among other examples. Among sharks, however, this disturbing tendency appears to have begun in 2008, when a fisherman named Christian Johnson captured an embryo of a blue shark with two heads off the coast of Australia. Moreover, the numbers appear to be growing.

Could this defect be man-made?

Some experts suggest that the increase in mutants among sharks may be a genetic response triggered by overfishing.

Whereas, in the study by Professor Sans-Coma and others, the two-headed catshark they found was lab-grown. It had not been exposed to infections, chemicals, or any sources of radiation. Hence, the researchers believe that a genetic disorder was the most plausible cause in that instance.

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