PREHISTORIC, DINOSAUR-ERA SHARK WITH INSANE TEETH FOUND SWIMMING OFF COAST OF PORTUGAL

This fish is rarely seen by humans but has lived on the Earth since long before man.

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Updated | The rare frilled shark is considered a "living fossil" because evidence of its existence dates back to at least 80 million years ago. This summer, researchers found one alive and thriving off the coast of Portugal, uncovering more clues about the resilience of this ancient sea creature.

The researchers who discovered the shark off the Algarve coast were working on a European Union project in the area, the BBC reported. The goal of the project was to "minimize unwanted catches in commercial fishing," the researchers told SIC Noticisas TV, as the BBC noted, but the team unknowingly unearthed one of the rarest and most ancient animals on the planet.

Scientists believe the frilled shark has remained the same, both inside and out, since the Cretaceous Period, when the Tyrannosaurus rex and Triceratops still roamed the planet. The creature, known by scientists as Chlamydoselachus anguineus, is incredibly simple and unevolved, most likely due to the lack of nutrients found in its deep-sea dwellings. A Japanese study of the shark found in Suruga Bay, Japan, revealed that its diet is 61 percent cephalopods—the class to which squids and octopus belong.

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11_10_fish

Updated | The rare frilled shark is considered a "living fossil" because evidence of its existence dates back to at least 80 million years ago. This summer, researchers found one alive and thriving off the coast of Portugal, uncovering more clues about the resilience of this ancient sea creature.

The researchers who discovered the shark off the Algarve coast were working on a European Union project in the area, the BBC reported. The goal of the project was to "minimize unwanted catches in commercial fishing," the researchers told SIC Noticisas TV, as the BBC noted, but the team unknowingly unearthed one of the rarest and most ancient animals on the planet.

Scientists believe the frilled shark has remained the same, both inside and out, since the Cretaceous Period, when the Tyrannosaurus rex and Triceratops still roamed the planet. The creature, known by scientists as Chlamydoselachus anguineus, is incredibly simple and unevolved, most likely due to the lack of nutrients found in its deep-sea dwellings. A Japanese study of the shark found in Suruga Bay, Japan, revealed that its diet is 61 percent cephalopods—the class to which squids and octopus belong.

The shark also has a unique mouth shape. Its jaw has more than 300 teeth neatly lined in 25 rows that, according to professor Margarida Castro of the University of the Algarve, are specifically designed to help it "to trap squid, fish and other sharks in sudden lunges," The Portugal News reported. It's lined with spines called dermal denticles that, combined with the teeth, give the mouth an all-around frightening look.

It's unlikely you will ever come face-to-face with a living frilled shark. But if you do, it's safe to say: Keep as far away as you can, and whatever you do, try to avoid its ferociously awesome jaw.

This story has been updated with additional information about the shark.

 

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