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Outsiders

It’s Only Been Seen By Less Than 60 Humans, But A Massive Megamouth Shark Just Washed Up On A Beach…

What's massive, ugly, has fifty rows of teeth, and is sitting on a Philippines beach?

The rare, and wonderfully named megamouth shark washed up in the Philippines last week    Photo: Rhayds Barcia/Reuters
The rare, and wonderfully named megamouth shark washed up in the Philippines last week     Photo: Rhayds Barcia/Reuters

When it comes to sharks, the Megamouth doesn’t get too much attention, which is odd considering it has one of the best names in the seven seas.

The Great Whites and the Hammerheads are always stealing the limelight, meanwhile the Megamouth cruises calmly along the bottom of the ocean, trapping pray in its giant jaws and cutting it up with its 50 rows of teeth.

Indeed, there have been only 64 confirmed sightings of the shark in the history of, well, ever, which made it quite a notable occurrence when one of the species washed up on the shores of Barangay Marigondon in the Philippines last week.

Unfortunately, the Megamouth was dead when it was found, but it makes for a pretty special occasion nonetheless, and Christopher Bird, a PhD student studying deep-sea sharks at the University of Southampton – rumoured to have once watched Sharktale 15 times in one day – was absolutely buzzing about the find.

“We know so little about it,” he told the Washington Post, after finishing off an e-mail to DreamWorks enquiring about SharkTale 2. “It wasn’t discovered really until 1976. It’s only seen when it’s accidentally caught in fishermen’s nets or stranded on beaches.”

Bird then told the Post that the Megamouth is one of his favourite shark species (it’s definitely in our top 10 too), saying with a dreamful look on his face: “It’s just the mystery behind it.”

A rare photo of the megamouth in full prowl down at the bottom of the sea      Photo: Tom Haights
A rare photo of the megamouth in full prowl down at the bottom of the sea       Photo: Tom Haights

Previous sightings of the shark, which kind of looks like a hungover university student when laying dead on the beach, have occurred near Taiwan, Japan, but they’re so rarely spotted that no one has any idea how many of them are out there. There could be millions down there plotting a detailed land attack on the human race.

If that is the case, then scientists better make the most of this rare capture, which is set to undergo a necropsy in the coming days. Hopefully when they cut it open, it doesn’t release a lethal virus into the air which begins a plague on humanity.

Fingers crossed everyone. Although we do fancy our chances.

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