The Curious Emergence Of Two-Headed Sharks

Summertime shark stories have always been strange affairs. And what's weird is that some of the strangest tales are the ones that are actually true. Scientists have confirmed that within the beautiful ocean depths, there exist mutated two-headed sharks. Are two-headed sharks real? Absolutely. But unlike the best terrible shark horror films, these mutated creatures are the hunted, not the hunters.

Sharks are not the only two-headed animals that have been documented. There have been cases of pigs and cats being born with two heads. In addition, shark mutations are in no way, shape, or form limited to only dicephalic parapagus (the genetic abnormality known as conjoined twin syndrome). Overfishing, pollution, climate change, and other factors have resulted in all sorts of twisted gene abnormalities in sharks. Have you seen the Shark Cyclops yet? It’s pretty terrifying stuff. 

At the end of the day, most scientists and researchers agree that human habits have given way to shark inbreeding, which is turning the ocean into an underwater circus. Every part of the globe has been exposed to these mutated two-headed sharks. So, before you head out for that family vacation at your favorite little nook on the beach, you might want to enlighten yourself on the newest wave in maritime mutants. 

  • Two-Headed Sharks Are Conjoined, Sharing Multiple Vital Organs

    Two-Headed Sharks Are Conjoined, Sharing Multiple Vital Organs
    Photo: CNN / YouTube

    In a shark-growing lab in Spain, dicephalic twins were observed in the embryo of an Atlantic sawtail catshark. Not only did the embryo possess two heads, each with its own separate brain, but it was also recorded as having two mouths, two sets of eyes, two livers, two stomachs, and even two hearts.

    Unfortunately, it was still left to share one single intestine and various other vital organs.

  • These Bizarre Ocean Creatures Suffer From A Birth Defect Known As Parapagus Dicephalus

    These Bizarre Ocean Creatures Suffer From A Birth Defect Known As Parapagus Dicephalus
    Photo: CNN / YouTube

    Dicephalic parapagus is a genetic abnormality you might be familiar with already. The layman’s term for this heartbreaking condition is conjoined twins. You've probably heard of cases where two human heads were attached to the same human body. This is the same thing. However, it should be noted that conjoined twins have also been observed with attached heads. When this happens, it is known as craniopagus parasiticus, a slightly different circumstance. 

    When an animal is stricken with parapagus dicephalus, it is referred to by scientists as a polycephalic animal. Polycephalic animals are few and far between, but their existence dates back millions of years, with the earliest recorded specimen being the fossil of a lizard that is estimated to be over 122 million years old.

  • Two-Headed Sharks Are Emblematic Of A Shrinking Gene Pool In The Shark Population

    The human species has forever altered the ocean’s landscape and the way marine life reacts to these changes varies greatly. Two-headed sharks were once a scientific anomaly, but their sudden abundance suggests a change in the tide. The fact that scientists cannot agree on what is causing this issue is the biggest problem of all.

    What is clear is the fact that the syndrome is a result of an increase in shark inbreeding. Inbreeding usually happens when a gene pool begins to diminish as a result of some exterior interference, such as overfishing, pollution, or weather alterations. 

  • Most Two-Headed Sharks Have Bleak Chances Of Surviving Past Birth

    If the idea of a two-headed shark has you bound to your beach blanket with fear, you can relax. The probability that such an animal would survive to see adulthood is slim to none. In fact, most of them barely make it out of the embryo stage and are seen when captured pregnant sharks are cut open. Upon studying dead two-headed sharks that made it beyond the embryo stage, scientist C. Michael Wagner states that the creatures "likely would not have survived very long had [they] been born naturally." 

    While Hollywood portrays a blood thirsty species with double the teeth and double the stomach, the harsh reality is that two-headed sharks are seriously disadvantaged in the ocean. Per the laws of the wild, these unfortunate sea creatures are much more likely to be gobbled up than you are.

  • Blue Sharks Seem To Be Most Prone To The Condition

    Of all the two-headed embryos observed within the dwindling shark population, it seems that the blue shark is most prone to this rare type of genetic disorder. The blue shark, named after the indigo hue on its upper body, is a species that is reaching a threatened level. Compared to other sharks, it is actually victimized significantly less by overfishing.

    Many scientists point to its reproduction habits as a possible explanation, particularly since blue sharks give birth to an average of 25 to 50 offspring at a time. Some rare instances of births with more than 100 pups have been recorded.

  • A Two-Headed Embryo Was Discovered In A Catshark - The Type Of Shark That Lays Eggs

    A Two-Headed Embryo Was Discovered In A Catshark - The Type Of Shark That Lays Eggs
    Video: YouTube

    While shark tales featuring two-headed creatures have been whispered about from coast to coast for centuries, the Atlantic sawtail catshark made history in October 2016 when it became the first recorded egg-laying shark species to suffer from the syndrome.

    Oviparous sharks like the catshark actually lay eggs that hatch in the open ocean. They are a minority among their kind.