The Willful Paranoia of the Goblin Shark

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Hi!  I must’ve taken a wrong turn.  Can you tell me how to get to your nightmares?

Of all the creatures that science doesn’t know about, the goblin shark (Mitsukurina owstoni) might be the most fascinating.  It has been called a “living fossil”, although not to its face.  If it could be found, it could be found off of the coasts of every continent but Antarctica.  It is everywhere and nowhere; if it could throw shurikens with its feet, it would be a ninja; however, because it has no feet, it is instead classified as a shark.

The goblin sharks that have been seen average about eight feet in length, with the largest specimen ever caught being almost thirteen feet and very disoriented.  Paleontologists estimate that Mitskurina owstoni can grow to up to twenty feet long.  This estimate is based upon regression analysis which is twice as accurate as a chimpanzee with a dartboard and four times as accurate as wishful thinking.  The shark can weigh over four hundred pounds.  That may seem like a lot, but up to a hundred pounds of that is the shark’s liver.  That’s right, up to one quarter of the goblin shark’s body weight is its liver.  Impressed?  Don’t be.  This simply means that at least three quarters of the shark ISN’T liver.  This holds true for ANY animal expect for Liver Hares of Kenya (and the Liver Hare Dancers).  

The Mitsukurina is pink with bluish fins.  Unlike other pink animals, the goblin shark isn’t the product of alcohol withdrawal.  The pink color is due to blood vessels near the skin’s surface.  This causes the animal to bruise easily; consequently, it seldom plays rugby…

The Mitsukurina owstoni is thick in the middle and tapered on both ends, like other sharks and director Alfred Hitchcock.  Like a Hitchcock, the goblin shark’s anal and pelvic fins are larger than its dorsal fin.  Its tail is developed on top, but not the bottom.  And, I almost forgot, the goblin shark has protrusible jaws.  This means that the jaws of the shark extend out past the mouth.  These protrusible jaws give the goblin shark the ability to smile around corners.  The protrusible jaws, tiny eyes and pointed snout of the Mitsukurina give it the appearance of a Japanese goblin; hence, its name.  For those of you who aren’t Nippo-Goblo-enthusiasts, the face of the Mitsukurina owstoni resembles one of the “Spy vs. Spy” characters.

Image result for goblin sharkYou can imagine how FRUSTRATING this is to paleontologists.  There’s a beady-eyed pink shark that looks like a Mad Magazine character and THEY DON’T KNOW HOW IT LIVES!  It lives too deep to study, so scientists can only sit and seethe and guess and eat their educated hearts out.  Sure it could live just like other sharks:  Swimming, eating and attacking surfers; but, how is anyone to know for sure?  They could be doing unspeakable things down there, hundreds of meters below the surface.  Maybe, for goblin sharks, dogs have the right to vote.  What if word were to spread to the surface?  I don’t know about you, but if my dog starts putting Libertarian Party signs in my front yard, I’m getting a pot-bellied pig…

They will go out on a limb and state that goblin sharks are hypothetically oviparous (giving birth to live young or very active dead ones).  This is hardly news.  I was hypothetically oviparous for a short time in the eighties.  Other hypothetically oviparous creatures are werewolves and Angela Merkel.  

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A Goblin Shark, well past middle-age

So, instead they start comparing the Mitsukurina owstoni with long dead sharks, whose fossils have been brought to dry land by plate movements and magical dragons.  The Scapanorhynchus lewisii, which existed during the Cretaceous period (about 120 million years old) is back…in fossil form.  It is believed to be a direct relative of the goblin shark.  This is based on the similar snouts, teeth, and tails. The goblin shark is much larger than the Scapanorhynchus lewisii.  Using more regression analysis on fossil data and what is known about the goblin shark, paleontologists can say with certainty that the average goblin shark lives for less than one hundred and twenty million years and makes an impression in silt…

They don’t know how many goblin sharks there are; however, they are listed as “Not Threatened”.  Every so often, one is captured alive, put in a Japanese aquarium; then, it dies within a week.  This may not be considered a “threat”; however, it certainly couldn’t be considered a benefit…