Ultra-Rare Shark Birth Captured on Camera for First Time

Note the head of a newborn thresher shark sticking out from the underside of the mother. Attila Kaszo via Coral Reefs

At first, photographer Attila Kaszo didn't think much of a picture he took of one particular thresher shark in the Philippines.

One of the frames "ended up in my trash folder because it appeared to have a 'blob' on it which I thought was a jellyfish," he told The Washington Post.

But upon closer examination, the blob was no jellyfish but the head of a young thresher shark being born. He shared it with shark research Simon Oliver, who "freaked out," saying it has become the highlight of his career, according to the BBC.

That's because it's "the first record of any oceanic [shark] species giving birth," said Oliver, who along with Kaszo authored a study about the finding, published in late December in Coral Reefs, the journal of the International Society for Reef Studies.

Simon Thorrold, a senior scientist from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, told the BBC that he had "never seen a comparable image for any other pelagic shark," a designation that includes any shark species that lives in the open ocean (as opposed to in reefs or near the seafloor). "It may well be [the first record of such a birth], or at least the first time that the event has been photographed, but this is always difficult to say definitively."