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.