It is renowned for its unnerving appearance. Due to its deep-sea habitat, humans don't encounter it very often in the wild, but it is luckily not a very fast swimmer, nor an adept pursuit predator. While not entirely confirmed, it is thought to be more of a slow-moving ambush hunter.
“These fish have soft, spindle-shaped bodies with long, flat snouts. Their dorsal and pelvic fins are round, while the upper portion of their tail fins are very long. Goblin sharks are white with pink highlights and can be seen year-round in deep ocean corridors.
Their teeth are thin and long and point slightly inward. Their most distinctive feature is the jaw, which can actually be pushed forward until it protrudes from the mouth. After death, their entire body becomes swollen with blood and turns bright red before fading to brown.
They use sensory organs on their elongated snouts to search for food along the ocean floor. When a meal is located, they shove their jaws forward to retrieve and swallow it. The genus name Mitsukurina is named after a Japanese biologist who first brought the shark to the world’s attention. The species name owstoni is named after the collector who acquired the first specimen.”
"The front of this creature's head is elongated, giving it a monstrous appearance It is white with a hint of pink, and when it dies it becomes red due to congested blood. As time passes, it eerily changes to a chestnut colour. It feeds on creatures of the ocean floor, protruding its jaws and swallowing down prey. This is when it looks especially monstrous."
Oceana: "Whoa! Look over there! Sharks! Oh, wow... They're so cool! Look at their crazy mouths! How is that even possible?"
Jean-Eric: "Those are goblin sharks. They're very rare and only found in deep waters. They aren't aggressive toward humans. Well... that's what I've read, anyway."
Hayako: "Uh, they seem pretty agitated... They're coming straight for us!"
Jean-Eric: "Then you've got no choice! Quick! Use the Pulsar to subdue them! Buy some time while GG tries to figure out how to open the stone door."
- In the Abyss, a solitary specimen can be found patrolling the Whalebone Chasm at night, replacing the bluntnose sixgill sharks who can be found there during the day.
After the main storyline, a small group of these can be found in the Pillars of Shadow area, but only at night. The player can also encounter a pair of them during a part of the main storyline in the Celestial Mausoleum.
The only goblin shark in the first game swims slowly around the Graveyard, staying close to the ocean floor. It likes being offered food and stroked. It often swims through the ribcage of the whale skeleton that adorns the area. This goblin shark is not hostile, like all other Endless Ocean wildlife.
In this game, the goblin sharks are hostile and will attack the player if approached. They are often in the company of their older and more grotesque cousin (story spoilers). They can be placated for a short amount of time using the Pulsar, but they shake off its effects rather quickly compared to other predators. They are also distinct from other dangerous creatures, in that they seem to have a much wider detection range; the ones in the Pillars of Shadow tend to hover around the mid and lower levels of the room, yet they still have a tendency to swim up and attack players near the top.
They are the only deep-sea shark in the game to not have any unlockable trivia.
- Like both games report, the goblin shark usually keeps its jaws tucked in and only protrudes them while feeding, unlike its in-game model (which keeps them out at all times). This method has been nicknamed "slingshot feeding" by researchers. Also accurately reported in-game is the presence of sensory organs on the snout, which the shark can use for tracking down prey.
- These sensory organs are called "ampullae of Lorenzini" and are present on all sharks, as well as rays, kites, and some species of sturgeon.
- Because of its flabby body and small fins, the goblin shark can't swim very fast, so its protrusible jaw comes in handy, especially for ambush. While it seems to prefer prey that dwells mid-water, it also has a track record of eating bottom-dwelling crustaceans. (This bottom-feeding is touched on in both games.)
- Despite its scare factor and formidable abilities, there aren't any reports of goblin sharks actively attacking humans in real life. It is largely considered to be harmless.
- The unique pink or white coloration of the goblin shark isn't due to any pigment in the skin; rather, the skin itself is largely translucent, letting blood vessels show through, which makes the shark look pink. This is also why there is such a drastic color change after their death, like is reported in both in-game descriptions - the pink is replaced by brown or grey-brown, though not red.
- The first game is accurate in its report of the origin of the goblin shark's scientific name. "Mitsukurina" is from Japanese zoologist Keigo Mitsukuri, and "owstoni" is from English wildlife collector Alan Owston. The name "goblin shark" originates from the Japanese name for this animal; it is called tengu-zame, after the tengu, a goblin-creature with a long nose from Japanese folklore. English translation resulted in "goblin shark".
- The goblin shark is the only living member of the family Mitsukurinidae. Mitsukurinidae goes back about 125 million years and, as such, this shark is often called a "living fossil". There are also extinct members of the genus Mitsukurina: M. lineata and M. maslinensis. M. maslinensis is the older of the two, and appears to be the earliest known member of the genus.
- Various specimens of goblin shark, with different preservation techniques leaving their jaws protruding at variable lengths, were once thought to be representatives of entirely distinct species due to how different their appearances were.
- There are fossil relatives of the goblin shark that include the genera Scapanorhynchus and Anomotodon. The former is believed to be a direct ancestor of the modern goblin shark. The latter of these was quite successful in its time, with a worldwide range, and appears to be the earliest known genus in the family.
- Living relatives include thresher sharks like the pelagic thresher (Alopias pelagicus) and sand sharks like the sand tiger (Carcharias taurus). The relation to thresher sharks is evidenced in the fact that it has quite a long tail fin, though it lacks a bottom lobe.
- WIRED: "Absurd Creature of the Week: Elusive Goblin Shark Has World's Most Terrifying Jaws"
- Eureka Alert: "Unraveling the jaw-dropping goblin shark"
- "Slingshot feeding of the goblin shark Mitsukurina owstoni (Pisces: Lamniformes: Mitsukurinidae)"; Kazuhiro Nakaya, Taketeru Tomita, Kenta Suda, Keiichi Sato, Keisuke Ogimoto, Anthony Chappell, Toshihiko Sato, Katsuhiko Takano, and Yoshio Yuki
- Smithsonian Ocean
- Scientific American: "The Shark's Electric Sense"
- National Geographic Kids
- Shark Research Institute
- Mental Floss: "12 Facts About Goblin Sharks"
- Florida Museum
- Contemporary Dentistry Blog
- "Record of the goblin shark Mitsukurina owstoni (Chondrichthyes: Lamniformes: Mitsukurinidae) from the south-western Atlantic"; Getulio Rincon, Teodoro Vaske Júnior, and Otto B.F. Gadig
- Planet Shark Divers
- Animal Diversity Web
- Fishes of Australia
- Australian Museum
- "Description of a species of fish (Mitsukurina owstoni) from Japan, the type of a distinct family of lamnoid sharks"; David Starr Jordan
- National History Museum
- Encyclopaedia Britannica
- IUCN Red List
- Medium: "Indonesia’s First Record of ‘Living Fossil’: The Goblin Shark"; Hollie Booth and Muhammad Ichsan
- Mikko's Phylogeny Archive
- "Sharks, rays and skates (Chondrichthyes, Elasmobranchii) from the Upper Marine Molasse (middle Burdigalian, early Miocene) of the Simssee area (Bavaria, Germany), with comments on palaeogeographic and ecological patterns"; Jaime A. Villafaña, Giuseppe Marramà, Stefanie Klug, Jürgen Pollerspöck, Markus Balsberger, Marcelo Rivadeneira, and Jürgen Kriwet
- Iowa State University: "Phylogeny of lamniform sharks based on whole mitochondiral genome sequences"; Toni Laura Ferrara
- Elasmo-Research (Lamnoid Shark Evolution)
- Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute