An extremely rare and tiny pocket shark has been identified by scientists as only the second ever found in the world.
The 5.5-inch-long pocket shark was fished out of the Gulf of Mexico in February 2010 with other species as part of a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) research mission. It stayed in a NOAA freezer for three years until it was identified as the rare species, Associated Press reports.
Named because it has two pockets next to its front fins, it is only the second pocket shark ever seen; the last one was seen 36 years ago off Peru.
"The pocket shark we found was only 5 and a half inches long, and was a recently born male," said Mark Grace of NOAA Fisheries.
He noted the shark displayed an unhealed umbilical scar. "Discovering him has us thinking about where mom and dad may be, and how they got to the Gulf. The only other known specimen was found very far away, off Peru, 36 years ago."
Speaking to Nola.com, Tulane University biologist Michael Doosey, who helped identify the shark, said: "It's a creature that lives in the middle of the dark, deep, cold ocean and no other shark species have anything like it."
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