Images of a Cyclops shark that surfaced in July met with raised eye-brows from the Internet. Scientists now confirm the unbelievable photos are real after examining x-rays of the fetus, LiveScience reported.
Fisherman, Enrique León, cut the one-eyed albino shark pup from the belly of a pregnant dusky shark. He caught the shark legally in the Gulf of California. It's a rare case of Cyclopia that affects 1 in 16,000 animals born. The rare birth defect occurs when the embryo's eyes fail to into two separate organs.
It was unlikely that the pup would have survived long outside of its mother's womb. The Cyclops shark was among 10 other normal shark pups found.
"This is extremely rare," shark expert Felipe Galvan Magana of Mexico's Centro Interdisciplinario de Ciencias del Mar said to the Pisces Fleet Sportfishing blog in July. "As far as I know, less than 50 examples of an abnormality like this have been recorded."
Humans have been affected by the birth defect as the last known case was reported in a 1985 issue of the British Journal of Ophthalmology. The girl was born in 1982 in Israel with no nose, one eye in the center of her face and significant brain abnormalities. However, she only lived for 30 minutes after birth.
Another case in 2006 was reported when a kitten was born with only one eye and one nostril. "Cy," as the kitten was known, only survived a day after birth. The kitten's remains were bought by the Lost World Museum, a creationist center that exhibits the world pre-flood.
Leon has gotten offers to buy the shark, including one from "Ripley's Believe It Or Not." But it doesn't seem like it will move Galvan Magana's university as he studies the creature. Galvan Magana is expected to write a paper on the discovery very soon.