It looks like a creature from the ancient myths.
So when a shark pup with albino skin and a single eye was found by fishermen in Mexico, and photographs were beamed across the world, many dismissed the strange creature as a hoax.
But after examination by a Mexican biologist, the shark was declared real.
It was removed from the womb of its mother, an endangered dusky shark, which was caught in the Gulf of California.
This one-eyed albino fetus was cut from the belly of a pregnant bull shark caught off the coast of California this summer
Shark researchers say the creature is genuine, although it is unlikely to have survived after birth
Mexican biologist Felipe
Galvan-Magana diagnosed the fish with cyclopia, a rare defect that
causes the development of only one eye.
It has also drawn comparisons with a famous celluloid monster — green, grinning Mike from Monsters, Inc.
The one-eyed shark has achieved cult
status since Pisces Fleet Sportfishing published pictures of it in July,
giving rise to rumours of Photoshopping or other hoaxes.
Shark expert Felipe Galvan Magana, of Mexico’s Centro Interdisciplinario de Ciencias del Mar, said: ‘This is extremely rare. As far as I know, less than 50 examples of an abnormality like this have been recorded.’
The shark’s condition is known as cyclopia, and is a rare congenital disorder characterised by the failure of the front portion of the brain to properly divide the orbits of the eye into two cavities.
Cyclopia occurs within the spectrum of brain and face defects known as holoprosencephaly, which in severe cases can result in miscarriage or stillbirth.
In 2005 a kitten born with only one eye and no nose caused a similar online stir.
The feline, one of two in a litter, became known as Cy (short for Cyclops) and died within a day.
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In 2005 a kitten - nicknamed Cy - was born with the same rare congenital disorder