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 April 23, 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 April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India

Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) A leopard caused panic in the city of Chandrapur on Monday when it sprung from the roof of a house and charged at rescue workers. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs

Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) Drake University hosts 35th annual Beautiful Bulldog Contest. (April 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
805-Pound Shark Caught Off The Coast Of Florida

805-Pound Shark Caught Off The Coast Of Florida

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) One Florida fisherman caught a 805-pound shark off the coast of Florida earlier this month. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Foods Are Getting Pricier

Breakfast Foods Are Getting Pricier

AP (Apr. 21, 2014) Breakfast is now being served with a side of sticker shock. The cost of morning staples like bacon, coffee and orange juice is on the rise because of global supply problems. (April 21) Video provided by AP
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