A pocket shark—the rarest of sharks with only one specimen ever seen before—has been discovered by scientists.
A male pocket shark measuring 5.5 inches long was collected during a 2010 midwater trawl survey 190 miles south of Louisiana by NOAA/NMFS Southeast Fisheries Science Center while studying prey of sperm whales.
The first pocket shark was found 36 years ago on the Naska Submarine Ridge in 1,083 feet of water in the southeast Pacific Ocean off Peru. The female specimen is 17 inches long and is currently housed in a Russian museum.
The specimen, determined to have just been born, was identified and subsequently sent to New York and France for high-tech examinations.
“I wasn’t really sure what it was,” Grace told the Associated Press. “That pocket over on the pectoral fin, I had never seen anything like that on a shark.”
“It’s cute,” Doosey told the Associated Press. “It almost looks like a little whale.”