2014.05.09 megamouth deep sea life

Golden Week in Japan is a great excuse to use those consecutive spring days off to relax, see a new part of the country or just enjoy some cheap ice cream. But vacationers wanting something a little different got an extra special Golden Week treat last week when a museum in Shizuoka dissected an incredibly rare megamouth shark in full view of the holiday crowd. 

Fewer than 60 megamouth sharks have been caught around the world and this 4.4 meter-long specimen was caught last month at a nearby port. Click below to see photos and videos of the live dissection.

Tokai University’s Marine Science Museum hosted the four-hour public dissection on May 6 as part of a special Golden Week event. An oceanography professor gave a play-by-play explanation of the dissection to the huge crowd to explain more about the insides of the 677-kilogram female shark.

A forklift carting in the huge megamouth to begin the dissection

2014.05.09 megamouth yoshuto twi Image: Twitter (yo_shu_tokuso)

Although the megamouth shark typically stays at depths around 100 to 200 meters, the museum said that at night, it can come up to waters as shallow as 10 meters to look for food. And don’t let its enormous mouth fool you; this shark only eats tiny plankton and is considered to have a very mild temperament despite its scary appearance.

▼ The megamouth laid out in front of the crowd

2014.05.09 megamouth deep sea life Image: Twitter (deepsealife)

▼ With a face only a mother could love, this megamouth is harmless to humans.

2014.05.09 megamouth aruaruImage: Twitter (aruaru_kaiyo)

▼ Taking a look inside the mouth. Tiny organs around the shark’s mouth can emit light which some scientists think may be used to lure the megamouth’s plankton prey

2014.05.09 megamouth onnyaImage: Twitter (onnyou)

During the dissection, museum-goers got the chance to see some of the organs up close. And anyone brave enough could touch the slimy insides. (No word on how it tastes though.) Some thought that the dissection might turn up some shark eggs, but the scientists ended up not finding any in this female megamouth.

▼ Coming in at a whopping seven kilograms: the megamouth’s intestines, which reportedly felt “jelly-like”

2014.05.09 megamouth wa922Image: Twitter (wa9221)

▼ Part of the shark’s vertebrae that was very “jiggly” according to those curious enough to feel it

2014.05.09 megamouth wa9221 boneImage: Twitter (wa9221)

▼ Far from “mega,” this is the tiny brain of the megamouth.

2014.05.09 megamouth killerwhalereImage: Twitter (killerwhale5rev)

▼  Ovaries from the megamouth

2014.05.09 megamouth ovariesImage: Twitter (deepsealife)

The dissection seemed to be a huge hit at the museum with about 1,500 visitors and 20 media organizations coming out to witness the rare event. And if you were out doing something else (probably not as memorable as seeing the insides of an extremely rare sea creature) during Golden Week, check out the video below of the full dissection. And let us know in the comments below what you think!

Video: YouTube (takabo1e8)

Source: Huffington Post Japan