Um, those aren’t feet…

14 03 2007

The Underwater Times has a story about a Malaysian woman discovering a shark with “webbed feet.” When I first saw the photo I didn’t see anything strange; just a male shark, but that’s exactly why there’s some confusion. The “webbed feet” are claspers (the paired, cylindrical male reproductive organs of male sharks, attached to the base of the pelvic fins), and the quote from Prof Dr Zulfigar Yasin (who obviously never saw the fish and is working on the assumption that this shark actually had webbed feet) appears to add credence to this pipe-dream of a story;

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

I’m not sure what species this shark is specifically, but it is possible that its claspers are abnormally formed, which could have led to the confusion, but it is unquestionable that the “legs” are indeed the male sexual organs. Still, thanks to the responsible reporting over at Underwater Times, misunderstanding and misinformation may continue to be spread across the internet. Thanks UT, without your crackerjack newswire service, claims of mermaids and sea bishops may have finally died away forever.


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5 responses

15 03 2007
Laelaps

[…] Um, those aren’t feet… […]

26 07 2007
bnutler

yeah but the first feet probably were not “feet” either. the process of evolution involves mutations, and this is an example of a mutation could have lead to feet. it would be unintelligent to assume that the first feet were actually intended to be used in the way land animals use them. It would be even more unintelligent to think that something hand designed everything on earth..

26 07 2007
Idiocy beyond belief; SHARKS DON’T HAVE WEBBED FEET! « Laelaps

[…] 26 07 2007 In March I blogged about a Malaysian woman who claimed to have found a shark with webbed feet, although anyone with even a cursory knowledge of shark anatomy could see that the “webbed […]

27 07 2007
Jason

This story has legs and is making the rounds again. The claspers aren’t mutated. Some species have fan-like projections at the end called a rhipidion.

5 01 2012
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You have remarked very interesting points ! ps decent site. “Recompense injury with justice, and recompense kindness with kindness.” by Confucius.

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