Great white, mako and porbeagle sharks “learn to hunt” in the womb according to new research.
Their embryos develop teeth at an early stage — and use them to eat their mother’s unfertilized eggs.
That observation was made this month by researchers at the Sulikowski Shark and Fish Research Lab. The lab is part of the University of New England in Biddeford, Maine.
“These pups actually learn to ‘hunt’ before birth!” said James Sulikowski, a professor at the university’s Marine Science Department.
“But that doesn’t mean they eat their siblings in the womb. Instead…embryos eat unfertilized eggs that are continually deposited into the uterus by the mother….The fact that they develop these rotating rows of teeth to help them consume this food source is unique and in a sense is like them acting like a predator in the womb.”