It sounds like the premise of a bad science-fiction movie or the plot of “Sharknado 5,” but it’s real. Two-headed sharks are actually a thing, and they’re apparently popping up more than ever, according to media reports.
Back in late October, the BBC reported that researchers had stumbled upon the world’s first recorded instance of an egg holding a two-headed shark embryo. Other sharks that give birth to live young have had instances of two-headed offspring in the past, the BBC said, but the image of this particular egg freaked people out, with some asking whether this was simply a hoax.
Apparently not. On Nov. 5, National Geographic published an article saying that not only do two-headed sharks really exist, there seem to be more and more instances of them on the record.
Most of these two-headed sharks are merely embryos or infants, because such fish are unlikely to survive long due to their genetic abnormalities. But there have been several instances since 2008, according to the Daily Mail.
According to National Geographic, the blue shark is the species most likely to produce two-headed offspring because females can carry up to 50 babies at a time. That, combined with overfishing, has led to an increase in genetic abnormalities as rates of inbreeding increase, some scientists have theorized.
Regardless, even if these two-headed animals never grow into adults, social media has already gone wild with the idea.
Fatal shark attacks occur about five times per year worldwide, according to Oceana. But who knows? That number could double.