Most people who have older relatives with e-mail addresses likely get a lot of messages that say things like “margarine is one molecule away from plastic!” or “cold liquids solidify your food in your stomach!” They also probably send poorly photoshopped pictures, like the famous shark vs. helicopter. An old person may have also recently sent you a photo of an one-eyed, albino shark that has gone viral.

Unlike the rumors that Mark Zuckerberg is planning on charging for Facebook, this is one viral phenomenon that has been confirmed real, according to several sources including Discovery News. Scientists have examined the shark and have confirmed that it is the real deal.

The shark, which is said to be a fetus of a dusky shark, was removed from the stomach of its pregnant mother after it was caught by a commercial fisherman in California this summer. Being born with one eye, or cyclopia, is a rare but not unheard of condition that happens to animals including humans. For this shark, researchers say, having only one eye would have meant its certain death within a day or two. Sharks get very little love from their mother once born. That’s why we have never seen a cyclops shark before this one – once they leave the womb, their time is limited as they attempt to and fail to survive in the wild.

Half the fun of viral photos and videos like this one is the mystery surrounding it. Trying to figure out whether something like this is real or photoshopped helps build the intrigue. These reports kind of deflate all that intrigue. Instead of being some rare creature or incredible viral marketing, this is just a creepy looking shark with a rather sad reminder that it is the survival of the fittest out there. Thanks for making us feel bad, cyclops shark!

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