The "Baby Shark" song has lost all cuteness.
It has been known, for some times, that most sharks begin life, or even pre-life, as cannibals. Inspired, likely, by Satan himself, or possibly Anton LaVey, they smack their embryonic lips and feast upon one another, preparing for the day they can escape mother and feast on the feet of male surfers.
Disturbing, yes, and should hamper sympathy amongst the non-binary, but in a just released study, scientists discovered how much glee baby sharks derive from the taste of their brothers and sisters. The mini-apex predators, it was revealed, will swim from womb to womb, seeking and destroying.
While I am a trusted shark-cum-surf journalist we must head to the pages of Science Alert for the very latest here.
A novel kind of ultrasound device has provided biologists with a detailed view of this common act of cannibalism, and it revealed they don’t just nibble on their neighbour. Embryos will travel between wombs to feast.
No, that’s not a typo. Many species of shark mature their eggs or gestate embryos in a left and a right uterus.
For most animals, embryonic movement is rather limited to a bit of squirming and the occasional flip. Even for young that aren’t anchored to a placenta, gestation is thought to be a rather sedentary affair.
So researchers from Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium in Motobu, Japan, were surprised to find the unborn pups of captive tawny nurse sharks (Nebrius ferrugineus) not only moving around their own uterus, but moving house altogether.
“Our data shows frequent embryonic migration between the right and left uteri, which is contradictory to the “sedentary” mammalian fetus,” the team wrote in their report.
The discovery came courtesy of a fancy new piece of equipment that allows the kind of ultrasound device you’d use to scan a human pregnancy to be packed up and carried underwater.
A moveable feast and very scary. Very much ahead of human dullness while in utero and if we have any hope in surviving the current apocalypse we should start our training as embryos. Maybe learning how to fashion little fishing poles or some such.
Any better ideas?
More as the story develops.