A bizarre deep-sea shark with bulging eyes and a scary human-like smile was recently pulled from the depths off the coast of Australia. Shark experts aren’t sure what species the frightening creature might be, adding to the mystique of the unusual specimen.
A deep-sea fisherman known online as Trapman Bermagui caught the mysterious shark from a depth of around 650 meters off the coast of New South Wales, Australia.
The fisherman later shared a photo of the seabed specimen on September 12 on social media. The image shows the dead shark’s rough, sandpaper-like skin, large, pointed snout, large, bulging eyes, and exposed pearly squirrels.
The shark’s unusual features quickly caught the attention of other netizens who were either surprised or scared by the creature.
One commenter wrote that the specimen was “a nightmare”, while another wrote that the creature’s “evil grin” gave them the creeps.
Commentators also speculated about what species the shark belonged to.
“I think it’s the barnhead shark (Dalatias licha), which is known in Australian waters,” said Christopher Lowe, director of the shark laboratory at California State University in Long Beach.
Dean Grubbs, a marine biologist and shark expert at Florida State University, concluded that the dead shark was a dogfish (Centroscymnus owstonii), a species of sleeper shark in the same family as the Greenland shark (Somniosus microcephalus).
“It’s a swallowing shark,” said Brit Finucci, a fisherman at New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research who specializes in deep-sea sharks.
However, it is not clear which species in this group it belongs to, he added. Charlie Hoeveniers, a shark expert at Flinders University in Australia, said he agrees with Finucci’s identification and that the animal was likely a swallow shark.