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Found: One (Relatively) Cute Shark and One Hideous Ghost Shark

The ghost shark is “chunky in the front.”

A different species of bonnethead shark. Kind of cute, right??
A different species of bonnethead shark. Kind of cute, right?? Mills Baker/CC BY 2.0

There are so many small mysteries left in the world. Today’s evidence—a hammerhead shark and a ghost shark, both new discoveries. One is small and, dare we say, cute? For a shark? The other is the largest species of ghost shark ever discovered and, to the human eye, really ugly.

The new species of hammerhead shark was discovered in Belize by a team studying bonnethead sharks. These smallish sharks are plentiful in the Caribbean Sea and were thought to be one big happy family of sharks.

But when a team of scientists analyzed the DNA of bonnethead sharks captured in Belize, they discovered that these sharks were a different species from the ones that live around Mexico, the U.S. and the Bahamas. Even though all the sharks look quite similar, the DNA of the Belize sharks showed they hadn’t interbred with those other groups of sharks for several million years.

Here’s a close up of one of these sharks:

A bonnethead shark of the newly identified species.
A bonnethead shark of the newly identified species. FIU

Yeah, the shark has eyes on the side of its head, but check it out in context:

The shark in context.
The shark in context. FIU

It’s pretty small and cute! Unlike this newly discovered ghost shark, which the scientist who discovered it describes as “chunky in the front.”

Ghost sharks aren’t technically sharks (though they’re related) since they move themselves with their fins rather than their tails. This is the 50th named species of ghost shark, Live Science reports, and is three feet long, making it the largest ghost shark yet discovered.

Fishermen working in the region around South Africa, where the ghost sharks live, have known about them for awhile and suspected that they weren’t quite like other ghost sharks. They were just too big.