According to reports provided to The Tampa Herald, a species of prehistoric shark was captured alive off the coast of the Algrave region in Portugal. Portuguese researchers guarantee that this frilled shark lived 80 million years ago in the Atlantic Ocean.
This find surprised scientists when it was transported to a commercial trawler, so they branded the find a living fossil. This is one of the few extant creatures from that time, and is believed to have inspired sailors’ stories of huge sea serpents. Frilled sharks are very poorly studied, as they live at great depths. They can be caught in the Atlantic Ocean, off the coasts of Australia, New Zealand and Japan, experts say.
The marine predator has 300 teeth and has been feared by seafarers since ancient times, rarely seen by humans. Its movements resemble those of snakes, having a length of 1.5 meters.
The male prehistoric shark was brought aboard a research vessel off the Portuguese coast of the Algarve. At the time, scientists were working on a European Union project that aims to safeguard unwanted catches from commercial fishing boats.
Portugal’s Institute for the Sea and Atmosphere told The Tampa Herald that the five-foot-long fish was caught at a depth of 2,300 feet off Portimao. Specialists believe that the frilled shark has remained the same, both inside and out, since the Cretaceous Period, when Tyrannosaurus rex and Triceratops still roamed planet Earth.
The creature, known to scientists as Chlamydoselachus anguineus, is extraordinarily simple and has not evolved, most likely due to a lack of nutrients found in its deep-sea habitat, the report notes.
In a Japanese study of a similar shark found in Suruga Bay, Japan, he found that its diet consists of 61 percent cephalopods, the class to which squid and octopus belong. Inhabiting deep waters, generally between 390 and 4,200 feet below the surface, it could rarely be found by humans.
The research also revealed that frilled sharks may also have the longest gestation period of any living creature, 42 months. Its greatest length can measure about 6 and a half feet. The shark also has a unique mouth shape. His jaw has more than 300 perfectly aligned teeth in 25 rows.
University of the Algarve professor Margarida Castro told the press that the characteristic of this jaw in these animals is designed precisely to help them catch squid, fish and other sharks in sudden attacks. He highlighted that it is covered with spines called dermal denticles that, together with the teeth, give the mouth a terrifying appearance.