A rare pocket shark was found for the second time in the Gulf of Mexico. Back in 2010, surprised scientists first found it after it was fished out of the deep waters of the Gulf. It was one of the many animals discovered during a government fishing trip. The dead specimen remained in the freezer for years waiting for identification.
The rare pocket shark mystery
It was the second of its particular species ever seen. The first pocket shark was discovered 36 years ago in the Pacific Ocean right off the Peruvian coast. It has been sitting in a museum in Russia ever since. The recent pocket shark a was young male measuring at 5.5 inches in length. The shark has two pockets next it’s front fins, but know one knows what the pocket fins are for, some scientists think the pockets secrete pheromones or glowing fluid.
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The animal isn’t quite like a kangaroo, a marsupial that has a pouch to carry it’s young. Few species have pouches as large as the pouch on this shark; the pouches take about 4% of the shark’s body. Tulane University biologist Michael Doosey said the animal is cute and that it almost looks like a very small whale.
Biologists open up about the discovery
Mark Grace, biologist for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, spent over 30 years looking through bags of fishes to identify them. It took years to get to the end of the freezer when he plopped a freezer bag to thaw. Grace said the tiny pocket shark discovery had them wondering what happened to him and his family.
It was quite a miracle the specimen was never thrown out, especially considering the lab lost power several times. Grace noted there are others that have yet to be caught.