Scientists running a trawling net in waters off the resort of Portimão, Portugal netted a creature that dates back 80 million years ago.

According to BBC News, the researchers working for the Institute for the Sea and Atmosphere called it a “living fossil” because remains have been found that date back 80 million years.

It’s a rare frilled shark, and if you’ve never seen one before, you won’t ever forget what they look like. . .

These sharks have a long, slim body – almost like an eel – and scientists know little about them in terms of their biology and environment because they live at such great depths in the Atlantic ocean.

A professor from the University of the Algarve reportedly told Sic Noticias that the shark gets its name “from the frilled arrangement of its 300 teeth, which allow it to trap squid, fish and other sharks in sudden lunges.”

A news release on this rare catch reads:

“A frilled shark, a species that is often termed a ‘living fossil’ because of several ‘primitive’ features that have survived for millions of years, has been captured off the coast of Portugal’s Algarve region, the country’s meteorological and sea institute has announced.

The animal was a male, 1.5 metres in length, and was fished in August at a depth of 700 metres, the Portuguese Institute for the Sea and the Atmosphere (IPMA) said in a statement released on Monday.

Researchers from IPMA and the Centre for Maritime Sciences recorded the catching of a shark “with unusual features” by a commercial trawler, as part of an “initiative to minimise undesirable catches in European fisheries.”

The frilled shark is found across the Atlantic, including off the coast of Norway and in the waters of Scotland, Galicia in Spain, the Azores, Madeira and the Canary Islands, as well as in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, namely off Japan, Australia and New Zealand. It is rarely caught because it lives at great depths.

Fossils of the same species have been found that data back millions of years.”

 

 

Image courtesy Sic Noticias

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