NEWS

This Shark From Prehistoric Times Is Back To Freak Us All Out

This creature may have inspired legends of sea serpents.

14/11/2017 22:40 SAST

The phrase “they don’t make ’em like they used to” definitely applies to a rare shark found off the southern coast of Portugal.

The shark in question is a frilled shark, a species that is considered a “living fossil” because remains of the animal date back 80 million years, according to the BBC.

The nearly 5-foot-long shark has a head like a snake and a body closer to that of an eel, but gets its name because of the frilly way its 300 teeth are arranged.

The teeth’s “frilliness,” for lack of a better term, allows the shark to trap squid, fish and other sharks in its mouth when it lunges at them, Professor Margarida Castro of the University of the Algarve told the Portuguese language website Sic Noticias TV, according to the BBC.

IPMApt

This particular frilled shark was found off the Algarve coast, about 2,300 feet below the ocean’s surface. Researchers working on a European Union project to reduce unwanted catches in commercial fishing found the creature, according to Newsweek.

The frilled shark’s ocean habitat covers a wide area. It has been sighted off the coasts of Norway, Scotland and the Canary Islands. It’s also been seen in the Indian Ocean as well as waters off of Japan, Australia and New Zealand, according to a release by the Portuguese Institute of the Sea and Atmosphere.

Samuel Garman, who was one of the first scientists to study the shark back in 1883, believed its snakelike qualities inspired legends of sea serpents, according to IFL Science.

However, because the frilled shark hangs out in such deep waters, there is very little video footage of the animal in its native habitat. Its even rarer for the sharks to be captured live for research.

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