Sharks are incredibly popular when it comes to getting exposure on TV and in the media as a whole. Whether we’re talking about shark week or talking about the stories and movies that have been portrayed in Hollywood to make sharks appear as ruthless human hunters – this discovery might just quell some of those preconceptions. Interestingly, this shark even has been called “cute,” a few times since it’s been spotted.
However, spotting this rare shark is something of a challenge. Until now, this tiny shark that was found has only been seen twice. Since this is just the second time that a pocket shark had been spotted, it raised quite a fuss within the ranks of the media world. Interestingly though, the shark was found in a study that was taking place just 190 miles offshore from the Louisiana Coastline. The find came during a fish collection period during a sperm whale study by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, for short.
NOAA biologist Mark Grace knew the find was unique when he spotted something that didn’t seem normal, in terms of the fish that they had been sorting through to that point. He said of the shark that it had a “remarkable pocket gland with its large slit-like external opening located just above the pectoral fin,” which wasn’t anything that he or the team had been used to finding to that point. Grace also pointed out that the find “has us thinking about where mom and dad may be, and how they got to the gulf.” He went on to point out that “The only other known specimen was found very far away,” which raises even more questions.
At this point, it’s unclear how everything came together in the way that it did. But, it’s clear that there are more of these pocket sharks out there than scientists and biologists might realize at this very moment. This will certainly spur more studies around the pocket shark life, and perhaps as the team dives further into researching this particular find – they might learn more about its family or other pocket sharks.