A rare frilled shark was discovered off the coast of Portugal, and this amazing species is like a biological time capsule stretching back 80 million years.
As we reported over the weekend, scientists are marveling at the discovery of a frilled shark off the coast of Portugal in the Atlantic Ocean recently, and there are some incredible facts about this amazing fish. The frilled shark is incredibly rare and we didn’t even know it existed until the 19th century, and scientists didn’t see it alive in the wild until 2004.
It’s an amazing species because if you lived during the time of the dinosaurs around 80 million years ago, if you came upon this species it’d basically look exactly the same as it does today. We humans so rarely come across it because it lives between around 400 to more than 4,000 feet below the sea.
It is so named for its strange gills that span much of the length of its throat that have frills on the outside of them. It’s certainly an unusual and frightening looking creature, with needle-like teeth that latch onto prey. Uses it dines on cephalopods. It grabs its prey by lunging like a snake, so it must be quite a sight to behold in action.
“This species is aplacental viviparous: the embryos emerge from their egg capsules inside the mother’s uterus, where they survive primarily on yolk,” states Wikipedia. “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 by catch in commercial fisheries, but have little economic value.”