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Cyclops Shark: Scientists Confirm That Discovery Of One-Eyed, Albino Animal Is Legit (VIDEO)

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 10/18/11 02:40 PM ET Updated: 12/18/11 05:12 AM ET

A one-eyed 'cyclops' shark fetus discovered in July is the real thing, according to scientists.

The animal was discovered inside its mother, a dusky shark, who was caught in the Sea of Cortez earlier this year.

Discovery News report that when photos of the shark first surfaced in the Pisces Fleet Sportfishing blog, many people thought the images were too bizarre to depict anything legitimate. The cute little bug-eyed individual looks more like a happy cartoon character than a real shark, especially when its mouth is held open.

The 22-inch-long (56-centimeter-long) fetus has a single, functioning eye at the front of its head—the hallmark of a congenital condition called cyclopia, which occurs in several animal species, including humans, according to National Geographic.

Though the one-eyed shark was taken from his mother's womb, had she survived, it appears likely that the animal would not have survived long in the wild.

"This is extremely rare," Felipe Galvan Magana, a shark expert, told the Pisces Fleet Sportfishing blog in July. "As far as I know, less than 50 examples of an abnormality like this have been recorded."

The cyclops shark is not the only strange find in the natural world in recent months. MSNBC cites recent claims by Russian scientists that they had discovered "conclusive proof" of the existence of a Yeti, and other claims about the discovery of the lair of a mythical "Kraken" - a giant squid.

Check out photos of more sharks in the slideshow below:

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  • In this handout picture released by Awashima Marine Park, a 1.6 meter long Frill shark swims in a tank after being found by a fisherman at a bay in Numazu, on January 21, 2007 in Numazu, Japan. The frill shark, also known as a Frilled shark usually lives in waters of a depth of 600 meters and so it is very rare that this shark is found alive at sea-level. Its body shape and the number of gill are similar to fossils of sharks which lived 350,000,000 years ago. (Photo by Awashima Marine Park/Getty Images)

  • A shark swims in a tank at the New York Aquarium on August 7, 2001 in Coney Island, New York City. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

  • A June 11, 2009 file photo provided by Elasmodiver shows scientist Eric Hoffmayer of the University of Southern Mississippi's Gulf Coast Research Lab in Ocean Springs, Miss., taking fin measurements of a whale shark in the Gulf of Mexico, about 55 miles off the Louisiana coast. Hoffmayer says whale sharks, the world's biggest fish, are particularly vulnerable if they get into the oil slick. That's because, rather than moving up to the surface and down again, they eat by swimming along the surface, sucking in plankton, fish eggs and small fish. (AP Photo/Elasmodiver, Andy Murch, File)

  • In this handout picture released by Awashima Marine Park, a 1.6 meter long Frill shark swims in a tank after being found by a fisherman at a bay in Numazu, on January 21, 2007 in Numazu, Japan. The frill shark, also known as a Frilled shark usually lives in waters of a depth of 600 meters and so it is very rare that this shark is found alive at sea-level. Its body shape and the number of gill are similar to fossils of sharks which lived 350,000,000 years ago. (Photo by Awashima Marine Park/Getty Images)

  • Home And Away actor Jon Sivewright launches the new Adventure experience Grey Nurse Shark Feed Dive at Manly's Ocean World on December 18, 2006 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Patrick Riviere/Getty Images)

  • This Saturday, June 26, 2010 photo released by Bruce Sweet shows a juvenile great white shark swimming in the Atlantic Ocean about 20 miles off the coast of Gloucester, Mass., in the rich fishing ground known as Stellwagen Bank. The shark was pulled up by Gloucester-based Sweet Dream III, tagged, and returned to the sea. (AP Photo/www.SportFishingMA.com, Bruce Sweet)

  • A shark swims in a tank at the New York Aquarium August 7, 2001 in Coney Island, New York City. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

  • A shark swim inside a fish tank as a diver, left, cleans the glass at the Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town, South Africa, Wednesday, Aug 31, 2011. The Two Oceans Aquarium hosts group activities for school children and students which include the identification and observation of fish and other species. (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam)

  • In this picture taken on September 3, 2011, an environmental activist releases a baby black-tip shark into the sea as part of an operation organised by the sharks protection group Dive Tribe off the coast of the southern Thai sea resort of Pattaya. On average an estimated 22,000 tonnes of sharks are caught annually off Thailand for their fins -- a delicacy in Chinese cuisine once enjoyed only by the rich, but now increasingly popular with the wealthier middle class. (CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT/AFP/Getty Images)

  • This undated photo released by The Galapagos National Park of Ecuador shows a diver alongside a whale shark in the Galapagos Island, Ecuador. (AP Photo/The Galapagos National Park of Ecuador)

  • This undated photo released by The Galapagos National Park of Ecuador shows a diver alongside a whale shark in the Galapagos Island, Ecuador. (AP Photo/The Galapagos National Park of Ecuador)

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