You may have heard about cats with "wings", two-headed tortoises, snakes, piglets and even humans, extra-limbed lambs, pigs, deer, cows or humans, but this is far odder: a footed shark. This is extremely weird as sharks do not have and never had feet in their whole evolution. Maybe one day, the Great White will be running after us on the beach ...
A worker of the Malaysian
Fisheries Development Board (LKIM) in Batu Maung, Penang, made this strange discovery when she received the 1.7kg fish from a fisherman. "I only realized the shark was different when I wanted to cook tomyam fish for lunch for my family. It was only when I was about to cut the shark the day after I received it that I found two webbed feet sticking out from the lower part of the body. The shark is 1m (3 ft) long," said Mary Looi, 48.
Looi did not dare to cook the fish after her husband Gooi Man Kaw, 57, told her that the Chinese belief says that consuming fish with strange traits could bring disaster or ill luck. "Immediately, I returned the fish to the fisherman that night at about 10pm. He threw it back into the sea," said Looi, who had never encountered such an oddity before.
"This is the first time I have heard of fish with legs found in the Malaysian waters. There is a possibility that the fish could have swum from other waters into Malaysian waters. As far as I am concerned, fish species with legs or bony fins can only be discovered in the waters of North Sulawesi in Indonesia or South Africa," said Prof Dr Zulfigar Yasin, head of the marine research station at the Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM).
But Yasin makes a confusion between a real shark with a strange development and coelacanths, a type of relict fishes, from which land vertebrates evolved, and which have limb-like fins.
More probably, the shark's "feet" are claspers (or penises) that suffered some developmental impairment, due to trauma, mutation or contamination, which might have given them this strange appearance.