WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Scientists who were conducting research on how to minimize unwanted catches in European fisheries had the excitement of their lives when they found a frilled shark.
- The rare shark has six pairs of gills with “frilly” edges and more than 300 teeth lined in 25 rows.
- It is known as a “living fossil” since it has been reported to be in existence since the dinosaur era.
A rare, pre-historic frilled shark with strange teeth was found alive swimming off the Algarve coast in Portugal. The discovery was in August but is only making the headlines recently.
The discovery was unusual because this types of shark live 500 to 1,000 meters below the sea. The shark was caught at a depth of 700 meters.
The shark, with a scientific name of Chlamydoselachus anguineus, has a terrifying set of teeth neatly lined in its jaw. University of the Algarve professor Margarida Castro said that these unique teeth arrangement is specifically designed “to trap squid, fish and other sharks in sudden lunges”.
“From this depth, most fish come up dead,” Castro told BBC Brazil in Portuguese. “The net goes up very fast, and they do not survive the sudden change of pressure.”
The frilled shark was a “true living fossil,” according to the researchers from Portugal’s national meteorological, seismic, sea and atmospheric organization, IPMA. According to BBC News‘ translation of a Sic Noticias report, the shark’s appearance remains the same for 80 million years.
The male shark has a long, slender body similar to an eel and a snake-like head. It measures about 1.5 meters long.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, IUCN, the frilled shark has a “wide but very patchy” distribution across the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Sightings of the frilled shark have been reported in more than 20 countries, occasionally caught as bycatch.