Scientists have come across a live frilled shark, a very rare creature that has remained essentially unchanged for 80 million years.
Scientists have made an astonishing discovery off the coast of Portugal, finding a “living fossil” that is super-rare because of its life deep under the ocean. The frightening species known as the frilled shark was found off the Algarve coast during a research project by the European Union, which is trying to minimize unwanted catches in commercial fishing.
It’s a scary looking creature, but totally harmless to humans, and in fact it is rare for us to even come across one because they live between 390 and 4,200 feet below the sea. It looks probably the same as it during the Cretaceous Period when dinosaurs roamed the Earth.
And it was a pretty big fish, although not the largest ever recorded coming in at five feet long. It is so named for its odd gills that stretch along its throat and have frills on the outside of them.
“Seldom observed, the frilled shark may capture prey by bending its body and lunging forward like a snake,” a Wikipedia excerpt reads. “The long, extremely flexible jaws enable it to swallow prey whole, while its many rows of small, needle-like teeth make it difficult for the prey to escape. It feeds mainly on cephalopods, leavened by bony fishes and other sharks. This species is aplacental viviparous: the embryos emerge from their egg capsules inside the mother’s uterus, where they survive primarily on yolk. The gestation period may be as long as three and a half years, the longest of any vertebrate. Litter sizes vary from two to fifteen, and there is no distinct breeding season. Frilled sharks are occasional bycatch in commercial fisheries, but have little economic value.”