ORANGE BEACH — An examination of the hammerhead shark that washed up on the shores of Orange Beach Thursday showed the female shark was pregnant.

Dr. Marcus Drynom from Mississippi State University Marine Fisheries Ecology said the 14-foot great hammerhead shark was pregnant with 40 pups.

"While it is sad, it is very rare to find a large pregnant female, and the data collected will be tremendously helpful in learning about Great Hammerhead fecundity," the City of Orange Beach Coastal Resources posted on Facebook. "We are very thankful that our staff was able to get the shark off of the beach, protected from the elements, and iced down within a few short hours of the initial call. This was definitely an experience that we won't forget, and we are grateful to have played a small role in this unique case."

The cause of death has not been determined.

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