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Fourth echelon

NOAA researchers discover rare pocket shark specimen

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PASCAGOULA, Miss., April 23 (UPI) -- NOAA researchers recently made an extremely unlikely discovery. While filtering through a holding tank of deep ocean water collected in 2010, scientist Mark Grace found a tiny shark he'd never seen before.

When researchers compared a tissue sample against the massive specimen collection at Tulane University's Biodiversity Research Institute, they confirmed the specimen to be a pocket shark -- named for two small pockets beneath its fins, the utility of which remains unknown. The pocket shark is just the second specimen ever found.

"The pocket shark we found was only five and a half inches long, and was a recently born male," Grace, a biologist at the NOAA Fisheries' lab in Pascagoula, Mississippi, said in a press release. "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."



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