COURTESY OF MARCELA BEJARANO
It’s a shark with one eye—what could be weirder? It’s not an ancient one-eyed species, however, but an animal suffering from a rare congenital condition known as cyclopia, which has been documented in a variety of species, including humans. Measuring in at 56 centimeters (22 inches) in length, the organism is actually a fetus, extracted from the womb of a pregnant dusky shark, caught by fisherman Enrique Lucero León near Cerralvo Island in the Gulf of California. Also inside the mother shark were nine normal siblings.
Upon hearing about the discovery on Facebook, biologist Felipe Galván-Magaña of the Interdisciplinary Center of Marine Sciences in Mexico and his colleagues asked León for permission to examine the specimen and confirmed its diagnosis as cyclopia. A handful of other cylcops sharks have been documented, shark biologist Jim Gelsleichter of the University of North Florida told National Geographic, but always as embryos, suggesting that fish suffering from the condition don't live long. "It's a humbling experience to realize you ain't seen it all yet."
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