This two-headed blue shark fetus was removed from its mother by fisherman Christopher Johnston in 2008, off the coast of Australia. As we previously reported, there have been only about a half dozen reported cases of two-headed sharks. In January 2011, scientists published a review of two-headed blue sharks in the journal Marine Biodiversity Records. The researchers, led by Felipe Galvan-Magana, wrote, “Abnormal sharks showed a symmetric bicephaly that could be caused by the high number of embryos found in the uterus of the blue shark, which is the most fecund species of shark in the world.
In the case of the two-headed blue shark that appears in the photos in this post, Johnston told us that he found it while working as a longline fisherman in the Indian Ocean. Johnston showed it to the captain and other crew, but he said they were too tired and focused on getting their work done to pay much attention.
Johnston explained that the reason the fishermen cut open pregnant sharks was because they were only allowed to keep 20 blue sharks on a boat at a time, apparently including fetal ones.
As for Johnston, these days he lives in Dubai, where he leads private recreational fishing trips for royals. He originally hails from Perth, Australia, although his family moved him to the Middle East when he was four years old.
As to the reader comments that asked if such two-headed creatures could be traced to pollution, radiation, or other environmental ills, Wagner had told us that it is very difficult to pin abnormalities on a single cause. Out of the 20, he should have kept this one and submitted it to a local marine biology clinic so that it could have been analyzed more.


People are sick and cruel for any purpose – fooling with nature and killing for money is not humane! Birth defects in any species are not normal but happen – but we as a species are polluting this planet! Ocean ViewsOcean Views brings new and experienced voices together to discuss the threats facing our ocean and to celebrate successes.
The Aquarium of the WorldDescribed by Jacques Cousteau as the "aquarium of the world," the Gulf of California in Mexico is threatened by coastal development, climate change, and other human activities.
The carbon dioxide we pump into the air is seeping into the oceans and slowly acidifying them. Photograph: Clownfish reared in acidified water can't recognize the chemical signals that guide them to their unusual home—the tentacles of an anemone. One of our readers, Christopher Johnston, then sent us an email with photos he had taken on September 27, 2008 of a similarly surprising find: a two-headed blue shark. The phenomenon arises through conjoined development of twins, the same process that produces what used to be called Siamese twins in people.
The malformed female blue shark embryos the scientists examined had been found inside a pregnant adult female that had been caught in the Gulf of California off the western coast of Baja California Sur, Mexico.
He indicated that the fins had to remain on the bodies, to prevent the finning that is driving down shark numbers around the globe. Michael Wagner of Michigan State University recently confirmed to us that two-headed animals rarely survive in the wild.


Sometimes the problems also arise spontaneously, an imperfect expression of life’s machinery. Wonder what the humans will do, if a bigger species will start to cut us up alive for money. If he finds a pregnant mother to be carrying up to 100 pups, how can they ensure they’re not killing 100 more aside from the 20 they have?
Is it normal (though unusual) for sharks to be born two-headed, or is this caused by we humans, polluting and screwing up the oceans? To learn firsthand what's going on in and around this marine treasure of global importance, the National Geographic Society sent its top scientists and officials to the region in January 2016. He says most seem to “swim off fine” but what if they all die within 20 minutes?
They toured the desert islands off the southeastern coast of the Baja Peninsula and they listened to presentations by more than a dozen experts, including several whose Baja California research is funded by the Society.




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