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SKEPTOID BLOG:

Meet the Cyclops Shark

by Guy McCardle

October 31, 2011

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Donate In the photographs this creature is close to Pixar cute; almost too cute to be real. In this age of Photoshop and other forms of digital image manipulation, the eye is easily fooled. And skeptics...well; by nature we are skeptical of stories like this. Marine biologists, however, have recently examined and x-rayed the fish and have authenticated the catch. Their findings are expected to be released in peer reviewed journals in the next couple months.

The fish in question is a fetal albino cycloptic dusky shark. It was cut from its mothers belly before it was born. As you might imagine, this phenomenon is not very common. "This is extremely rare," shark expert Felipe Galvn-Magaña of Mexico's Centro Interdisciplinario de Ciencias del Mar told the Pisces Fleet Sportfishing blog in July. "As far as I know, less than 50 examples of an abnormality like this have been recorded." Pieces Sportfishing was the group of commercial fishermen who caught the shark this summer in the Gulf of California. Galvn-Magaña and his colleagues have encountered many other 'different'-looking shark embryos during their years of research. The team discovered a two-headed shark that had failed to develop separately.

Cyclopia is a rare developmental anomaly that can occur secondarily to a condition known as holoprosencephaly. I wouldn't recommend doing a Google image search on that term if you have a weak stomach. In 1982, a human case of clyclopia was reported in the British Journal of Ophthalmology. In that case, a baby girl was born seven weeks early with no nose and only one eye in the center of her face. The infant lived for just 30 minutes after birth. Jim Gelsleichter, a shark biologist at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, said that no sharks with cyclopia have been caught outside of the womb, indicating that if such sharks do enter the world, their time here is extremely short.

Back in 2006 a holoprosencephailc kitten was born. Images of this cat caused a media stir regarding whether it was real or a hoax. A veterinarian confirmed the kitten's condition; "Cy," as the cat was known, lived only a day. The remains were sold to the creationist Lost World Museum. The fisherman who discovered the Cyclops shark is reportedly hanging on to the preserved remains.


Sources:

Cyclops Shark Joins Ranks of Cryptic Creatures - Scientific American

Cyclops Shark Appears to be Legit - Discovery News

For The Skeptics Out There; New Cyclops Shark Photos -Pisces Fleet Sportfishing Blog

Cyclops Shark- Snopes.com

by Guy McCardle

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