Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists confirm first two-headed bull shark

Date:
March 25, 2013
Source:
Michigan State University
Summary:
Scientists have confirmed the discovery of the first-ever, two-headed bull shark.

Scientists confirm first two-headed bull shark.
Credit: Courtesy of Patrick Rice, Shark Defense/Florida Keys Community College.

Scientists have confirmed the discovery of the first-ever, two-headed bull shark.The study, led by Michigan State University and appearing in the Journal of Fish Biology, confirmed the specimen, found in the Gulf of Mexico April 7, 2011, was a single shark with two heads, rather than conjoined twins.

There have been other species of sharks, such as blue sharks and tope sharks, born with two heads. This is the first record of dicephalia in a bull shark, said Michael Wagner, MSU assistant professor of fisheries and wildlife, who confirmed the discovery with colleagues at the Florida Keys Community College.

"This is certainly one of those interesting and rarely detected phenomena," Wagner said. "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."

The difficulty of finding such oddities is due, in part, to creatures with abnormalities dying shortly after birth. In this instance, a fisherman found the two-headed shark when he opened the uterus of an adult shark. The two-headed shark died shortly thereafter and had little, if any, chance to survive in the wild, Wagner added.

"You'll see many more cases of two-headed lizards and snakes," he said. "That's because those organisms are often bred in captivity, and the breeders are more likely to observe the anomalies."

The shark was brought to the marine science department at Florida Keys Community College. From there, it was transported to Michigan State's campus for further examination.

Wagner and his team were able to detail the discovery with magnetic resonance imaging. Without damaging the unique specimen, the MRIs revealed two distinct heads, hearts and stomachs with the remainder of the body joining together in back half of the animal to form a single tail.

As part of the published brief, Wagner noted that some may want to attribute the deformed shark to exposure to pollutants.

"Given the timing of the shark's discovery with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, I could see how some people may want to jump to conclusions," Wagner said. "Making that leap is unwarranted. We simply have no evidence to support that cause or any other."

Wagner's research is supported in part by MSU AgBioResearch.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Michigan State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. C. M. Wagner, P. H. Rice, A. P. Pease. First record of dicephalia in a bull sharkCarcharhinus leucas(Chondrichthyes: Carcharhinidae) foetus from the Gulf of Mexico, U.S.A.. Journal of Fish Biology, 2013; DOI: 10.1111/jfb.12064

Cite This Page:

Michigan State University. "Scientists confirm first two-headed bull shark." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 March 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130325184016.htm>.
Michigan State University. (2013, March 25). Scientists confirm first two-headed bull shark. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130325184016.htm
Michigan State University. "Scientists confirm first two-headed bull shark." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130325184016.htm (accessed August 29, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Friday, August 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Australian Sheep Gets Long Overdue Haircut

Raw: Australian Sheep Gets Long Overdue Haircut

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) Hoping to break the record for world's wooliest, Shaun the sheep came up 10 pounds shy with his fleece weighing over 50 pounds after being shorn for the first time in years. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Minds Blown: Scientists Develop Fish That Walk On Land

Minds Blown: Scientists Develop Fish That Walk On Land

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) Canadian scientists looking into the very first land animals took a fish out of water and forced it to walk. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Huge Ancient Wine Cellar Found In Israel

Huge Ancient Wine Cellar Found In Israel

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) An international team uncovered a large ancient wine celler that likely belonged to a Cannonite ruler. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins