A fisherman got the shock of his life after he discovered a newborn two-headed baby shark among his daily catch.
Indian fisherman Nitin Patel was fishing the waters of Maharashtra in western India when he paused to take a look at his net.
He discovered a strange looking creature with two heads and took a few pictures, but didn’t realise how rare the animal was and threw it overboard.
Mr Patil later realised how unusual the catch is and shared the images with the Marine Fisheries Research Institute who could only find two other cases of a double-headed shark in India on record.
Mr Patil said: “We do not eat such small fish, especially sharks, so I thought it was strange but decided to throw it anyway.
“We have never seen anything like this before.
“We believe one of the larger sharks may have given birth to this double-headed shark baby.”
Marine biologist Swapnil Tandel said a variety of factors could have led to the shark being born with two-heads.
He said: “These finds are so rare that it is difficult to find a cause for the anomaly.
“Genetic or metabolic disorders, viruses, pollution or overfishing could be the possible reasons.”
Dr KV Akhilesh, of the Indian Council for Agricultural Research, said: “It’s a rare report for India.
“A similar two-headed shark was reported from Gujarat in 1964, and another in 1991 from Karnataka.
“Others could have been observed, but were not photographed or collected.”
He said the animal’s chance of surviving adulthood were “not great” as one head’s eyes were deformed.
Mr Akhilesh said: “One head’s eyes were deformed and there were two first dorsal fins.
“It’s a very rare chance. All the similar two headed sharks were either embryos or newborns.”