Scientists from Portugal’s Institute for the Sea and Atmosphere found a rare frilled shark off the coast of the Algarve.
The prehistoric beast has been swimming the seas for up to 80 million years judging by remains which have previously been found.
This means the species has lived during the cretaceous period. Experts have dubbed it a “living fossil”.
Other beasts that lived during the cretaceous period include the Tyrannosaurus Rex, velociraptors, and the baryonyx – a relative of the T-Rex.
Captured measuring 1.5 metres in length, the frilled shark was was found at a depth of 700 metres.
Researchers were in the area working on a project for the European Union to “minimise unwanted catches in commercial fishing”, they told Sic Noticias TV.
Frilled sharks, Chlamydoselachus anguineus, are deepwater eel-like sharks that reach lengths up to 2 m and are thought to reach sexual maturity when they are 1.35 to 1.5 m long. They are dark brown or gray in color above, sometimes lighter below, and have six pairs of “frilly” gill slits where the first gill slit is joined under their jaws forming a sort of collar. Frilled sharks’ heads are broad and flattened with short, rounded snouts. Their nostrils are vertical slits, separated into incurrent and excurrent openings by a leading flap of skin. The moderately large eyes are horizontally oval (like a cat’s).
Their mouth is located at the leading edge of their snout (terminal) rather than underneath like most sharks and they have small tricuspid teeth in both jaws. Their rows of teeth are rather widely spaced, numbering 19–28 teeth in their upper jaws and 21–29 teeth in their lower jaws. Each tooth is small, with three slender, needle-like cusps alternating with two cusplets. Their very long jaws are positioned terminally (at the end of the snout), as opposed to the underslung jaws of most sharks.
Frilled sharks also have a pair of thick skin folds of unknown function (possibly to help allow for expansion when digesting larger prey) running along their bellies, separated by a groove, and their midsections are relatively longer in females than in males.
Frilled shark differs from their southern African relative, C. africana, by having more vertebrae (160–171 vs 147) and more turns in the spiral valve intestine (35–49 versus 26–28), as well as differences in various proportional measurements such as a longer head and shorter gill slits. The maximum known length is 1.7 m for males and 2.0 m for females.
Very few of the species have been caught, and even when they are, the frilled shark rarely survives the journey to the laboratory.
However, it is not the first time that one of the rare beasts has been caught.
Last December, Russian fisherman Roman Fedortsov captured one of the prehistoric animals and uploaded the picture to Twitter.
The British Journal Editors and Wire Services