80 Million Year Old Shark Species Discovered off the Coast of Portugal

Prehistoric shark head

A prehistoric species of shark has been spotted by researchers off the coast of Portugal

An extremely rare shark has been discovered by scientists off the Portuguese coast. The species is loosely defined as a shark yet its body and head resemble that of a snake.

According to Sic Noticias TV, the frilled shark was caught by EU fish stock researchers while on a project of how to reduce unwanted catches when fishing commercially. Scientists note this species of shark to date back 80 million years. They went as far as to call it a „living fossil”.

The male was captured off the resort of Portimao in Algarve at a depth of 701 meters. It measures 1.5 meters in length and it has 300 teeth. The number of teeth is actually what helped named it, says Professor Margarida Castro of the University of the Algarve. The frilled arrangement of its 300 teeth allows the shark to trap other aquatic creatures such as squids and even other sharks. These needle-shaped teeth are aligned in 25 rows.

The snake-like creature has been seen off the coast of Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. Scientists claim those areas to be its natural habitat, in darkness and extremely cold temperatures.

The ocean still holds plenty of living fossils. Scientists have yet to discover why certain prehistoric species were able to survive for such extended periods of time.

The frilled shark may have survived due to its simple anatomy, which requires low amounts of nutrients from its aquatic environment. While there is much to learn about how these creatures can outlive their expiration dates, it is always interesting to see where legends come from. The sailor’s tales of various serpents across the 19th century clearly weren’t made-up.

Scientists also state that over 90 percent of the world’s waters depths have yet to be reached by humans.

Image Source: WikipediaCommons

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