Scientists are developing an artificial uterus in a race against time to save the endangered grey nurse shark.
But team leader Dr. Nick Otway says even if all goes well with the trial wombs being developed at Port Stephens, near Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia, it will still be years before the artificial breeding program is perfected.
The artificial breeding chamber will help negate the bizarre, cannibalistic breeding habits of the grey nurse shark: While still in the uterus, the strongest pup eats its siblings, meaning only two pups are born from each female (each has two uteruses) at a time.
The research has been funded by the New South Wales Dept. of Primary Industries in a desperate bid to save the species, acknowledged as one of the most threatened in the waters of eastern Australia.