Worthy of a spot in Ripley's Believe it or Not! museum, a fisherman in the Gulf of California has revealed to the world an albino fetal shark, and scientists who examined the rare creature say it is the real deal.
The shark, cut from the belly of a pregnant dusky shark by a commercial fisherman earlier this summer, has a single eye right in the middle of its nose, like a Cyclops, according to images circulating on the Internet.
The discovery, as reported by LiveScience, sparked the interest of researchers who determined that the curious creature was indeed the real thing after finding that the shark's single eye is made of functional optical tissues. Researchers expressed doubt that the young shark would have survived outside of its mother's womb.
The Cyclops shark was determined to have a developmental abnormally known as "cyclopia," in which only one eye develops.
According to LiveScience, human fetuses also suffer from the abnormality. In 1982, a baby girl was born seven weeks premature with no nose and only one eye in the center of her face. The child only survived 30 minutes after birth.
The fisherman who discovered the Cyclops shark, which is 22 inches long, according to National Geographic, allowed scientists to X-ray the shark but is reportedly keeping the remains.
National Geographic identified Enrique Lucero León as the fisherman who legally caught the pregnant dusky shark near Cerralvo Island in the Gulf of California.
León said he found the strange-looking male embryo with nine normal siblings in the dusky sharks' womb.
LiveScience reports that Seth Romans, a spokesman for Pisces Fleet, Galvan Magana and his colleagues will publish a scientific paper about the find within the next several weeks.
Cyclops sharks have been documented by scientists a few times before, also as embryos, Jim Gelsleichter, a shark biologist at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, told National Geographic. The fact that none have been caught outside the womb indicates that cyclops sharks do not live very long in the wild.