SCIENCE

Super-Rare Megamouth Shark Washes Ashore In The Philippines

02/03/2015 09:32 am ET | Updated Feb 03, 2015
Rhaydz Barcia/Reuters/Corbis

A megamouth shark recently washed ashore in the Philippines, giving scientists a rare up-close glimpse of the bizarre sea creature, CBS News reported.

Fishermen discovered the lifeless body of the 15-foot male shark on a beach in between the Albay and Masbate provinces on Jan. 28. While the shark's cause of death has yet to be determined, the specimen may shed new light on the species scientists know as Megachasma pelagios.

"We know so little about it," Christopher Bird, a Ph.D. student who studies deep-sea sharks at the University of Southampton in England, told The Washington Post. "It wasn't discovered really until 1976. It's only really seen when it's accidentally caught in fishermen's nets or when it is stranded on beaches."

Megamouth sharks can reach up to 17 feet in length and have a life span of around 100 years. They spend most of their time in the deep sea feeding on small shrimp, plankton, and krill. And they're called megamouth for good reason: according to the Post, their gigantic jaws have up to 50 rows of teeth -- some of which act as a filter to keep food in and push water out.

Last year, a megamouth was pulled from a fishing trap off the coast of Japan. Since megamouth sharks were discovered, only about 66 have been spotted -- and even fewer have been caught.

Check out photos of the recently discovered megamouth shark in the Philippines below.

Bfar Bikol/Facebook

Bfar Bikol/Facebook

Bfar Bikol/Facebook

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