Even the Jaws basking shark could pale in comparison to such a species of shark. On September 12, Trapman Bermagui – an Australian fisherman – posted a photo on Facebook of his catch of the day: a shark not quite like the others.
Fishing for a shark off the coast of New South Wales (Australia) is nothing out of the ordinary, but the species released by the fisherman – dubbed a “nightmare” by netizens – is enough to make one cringe.
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In the photo, the shark seems to be smiling…
Protruding eyes, rough skin, large pointed snout and a smile… like a human. As our colleagues from Geo report, the 1.5 meter long and 15 kilo specimen was retrieved from the depths, about 650 meters below sea level.
On Facebook, most comments end with the same question: what kind of shark is this? 530 different species have been recorded around the world so far, it is not easy to get an idea from a simple photo.
Nightmare Shark: What is it?
Netizens tried: wild shark? goblin shark? goblin shark? The assumptions are widespread, but even the specialists do not agree.
In fact, our Newsweek colleagues interviewed Florida State University (USA) marine biologist Dean Grubbs on the subject. For him, it could be a dogfish, a sleeper shark in the same family as the Greenland shark.
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But for Christopher Lowe, director of the Shark Laboratory at California State University, it could be more of a lichen shark appreciating Australia’s shores, but with no absolute certainty: “hard to say without being able to see the entire specimen”.
A new species of shark?
Brit Finucci, a deep-sea shark expert at New Zealand’s National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), tells Live Science it might as well be a shark, a target species of overfishing in that region that is now protected in Australia.
Finally, Christopher Lowe does not rule out that this is a specimen that has never been observed before: “We’re constantly discovering new species of deep-sea sharks, and many look the same.” Not all are as scary as these…