In hopes of better understanding the stages of fetal development in sharks, researchers from Brazil's Guaruja Aquarium have literally opened a window into the once elusive world of shark eggs. For researchers, this new, unobscured peek into the humble beginnings of sharks may offer insights into how best to preserve them, many of which are threatened with extinction. For the rest of us who may only be acquainted with full-grown version, it just goes to show that the ocean's most fearsome predator started out as, well, one mean-looking little shark baby. Shark egg capsules, sometimes known as 'devil's purses', look pretty menacing on the outside--and it turns out the story doesn't change much after peeking at what's going on inside. The embryo, in this case a bamboo shark, seems to thrash around in a manner similar to its adult counterparts, tethered to its large yolk. In some species, fetal development can take up to 24 months.
After finding the embryo was totally unaffected by the window, researchers then experimented by removing a baby shark from its shell altogether, allowing it to develop inside a plexiglass container in full view. According to the report from Galileu, once the sharks mature, they will added to the aquarium's collection.
Ideally, the insights gained into fetal development of sharks will help researchers create techniques for preserving the world's most threatened species--though it just might be that the shark's egg casings are meant to protect the us from their angry little babies.