Hammerhead shark washed up on Alabama beach leads to amazing discovery

Orange Beach, Alabama - Beachgoers in Alabama stumbled were met by a mind-boggling sight as they stumbled upon a dead 14-foot hammerhead shark hiding an even more amazing secret.

A 14-foot dead hammerhead shark washed up on a beach in Alabama.
A 14-foot dead hammerhead shark washed up on a beach in Alabama.  © Collage: Facebook/City of Orange Beach Coastal Resources

As Rick Johnson was relaxing on a sunny day at Orange Beach with his family on Thursday last week, he noticed something in the water.

"I looked up and saw a fin," he told WRKG. "I stood up and noticed a shark was upside down in the surf."

Johnson decided to take a closer look and, together with another beachgoer, they pulled obviously dead animal ashore.

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Authorities were called in and soon, a team of shark experts was on the scene, bagging the carcass and taking it to a lab for further testing.

"We have been coming down here for years, and this is definitely a first-time thing, so this will make a great memory," Johnson said.

But the story still had one twist coming up.

The hammerhead shark's cause of death is still unknown.
The hammerhead shark's cause of death is still unknown.  © Facebook/City of Orange Beach Coastal Resources
Authorities were called in to retrieve the shark carcass and take it for further study.
Authorities were called in to retrieve the shark carcass and take it for further study.  © Collage: Facebook/City of Orange Beach Coastal Resources

Hammerhead shark was pregnant with 40 pups

The hammerhead shark was a pregnant female carrying 40 shark pups.
The hammerhead shark was a pregnant female carrying 40 shark pups.  © Facebook/City of Orange Beach Coastal Resources

The City of Orange Beach Coastal Resources Facebook page later issued an update on the incredible discovery scientists from Mississippi State University Marine Fisheries Ecology had made.

"While it was very sad that it passed, we were excited about the rare opportunity of seeing a Great hammerhead in such good condition," they wrote.

"Though the cause of death has not yet been determined, the researchers did discover that the shark was pregnant with 40 shark pups!"

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The data collected will be "tremendously helpful" in better understanding hammerhead sharks, the agency added, saying that researchers hope to gain new insights into mating behavior and reproduction in particular.

"This was definitely an experience that we won't forget, and we are grateful to have played a small role in this unique case."

Cover photo: Collage: Facebook/City of Orange Beach Coastal Resources

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