Pictured above: not the shark we’re on about
Portuguese scientists have captured the prehistoric “living fossil” frilled shark off the coast of the Algarve. The rare catch occurred during the scientists’ work on a project which aims to reduce unwanted catches in trawler nets. The find is remarkable in that the shark is usually only ever found in pacific waters near Japan and New Zealand, and the rare creature has only ever been glimpsed a few times by scientists.
The shark has been called a “living fossil” by scientists. A term used to describe animals who show little to no sign of evolution for millions of years. In the case of the frilled shark, fossils show that the animal has remained unchanged for 80 million years.
The frilled shark is named for its bizarre hooked mouth that resembles, from a distance, a frilled edge.
The shark is 1.5m long and was captured at a depth of 700 metres. Almost nothing is known about how the shark lives, hunts or mates, and specimen rarely make it to a laboratory in one piece because of their delicate bodies. Scientists know very little about the shark and there is almost no footage of the living creature in existence. Instead, what little we do know, is gleaned from dead specimens like those brought up by the Portuguese trawler.
Well, we here at Digzoo feel a lot less comfortable about the sea knowing that 1.5m of oily leathery flesh is slithering around down in that inky blankness with a mouth of ribbed teeth and eyes the size of tennis balls.
Guess we won’t be taking a dip into those waters anytime soon.