A fisherman recently caught a two-headed baby shark off India’s Maharashtra coast and tossed it back into the water ― but not before taking photos of the rare find.
“We do not eat such small fish, especially sharks, so I thought it was strange but decided to throw it anyway,” Nitin Patil told the Hindustan Times.
A fellow fisherman, Umesh Palekar, said: “We have never seen anything like this before.”
Biologists checked out the images of the six-inch fish and determined it was either a spadenose or sharpnose shark, according to the outlet.
Two-head mutations have become more common, but no one knows exactly why, National Geographic wrote in 2016. The nature outlet offered a few possible factors for the malformations, including pollution and a “dwindling gene pool due to overfishing.”
Still, the latest discovery is unusual.
Scientists and marine biologists said the two-headed shark Patil caught could be a first along the approximately 450-mile Maharashtra state coastline.
“Our records show that double-headed sharks are very rarely reported along the Indian coast,” a scientist from the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute told the Hindustan Times.
Anomalies can show up in freshwater fish as well. A lake trout with two mouths was caught in 2019.