What was a dead shark doing on a NYC subway earlier this week? We don’t know.

As Discovery Communications spokeswoman Laurie Goldberg says:

Shark Week is all about conservation, so it deeply saddens us that someone would think that this was funny or in any way connected to our celebration of sharks.

Still, just what kind of shark takes the N train to Queens? I thought it was a dogfish from the stream of internet photos, but to confirm I asked our regular columnist and shark attack survivor Debbie Salamone of The Pew Charitable Trusts. “Yes,” she agreed, “the shark is a smooth dogfish.”

And while the NYC Subway shark still had its fins attached, a loophole in the Shark Conservation Act allows for finning of smooth dogfish (Mustelus canis), which are near threatened.

ANALYSIS: Dogfish Cut Out of Capitol Hill Protection

This regulation was recently revisited in light of the many other state laws in the United States that are tougher than the federal rules, but to date the smooth dogfish is still the exception to the protection laws.

IMAGES: Smooth dogfish shark found on Queens bound N train. (Juan D. Cano @Juandiego3000, top, and inset via bsanchz on Instagram)