March 19, 2018

Rare 'dinosaur age' shark found in Portugal

13 November 2017, 02:42 | Lucia Cruz

Portuguese trawler catches 'prehistoric shark' during mission to 'minimise commercial fishing'

Rarely seen 'living fossil' frilled shark caught off Algarve coast

The shark is said to date back 80 million years and features a range of primitive features, such as 300 sharp teeth and a weakened vertebrae among other attributes. It also has a rather unique teeth arrangement, but there's little else known about the shark's biology or ecology.

Scientists working on the Algarve coast were in for a surprise when they caught a rare frilled shark earlier this week.

The male fish measured 1.5 metres long, and was caught at a depth of 700 metres, according to the researchers. This isn't the first time that a frilled shark has been caught, previous year a fisherman called Roman Fedortsov had posted pictures of a frilled shark he caught in Russian Federation. The gills of the shark has frilly, fluffy edges, but the cuddly factor ends abruptly there. The frilled and pleated teeth allowed the shark to trap squid, fish and other sharks in sudden lunges. The discovery adds to the list of very few sharks recently found in Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

Despite existing in large numbers across the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the species is spotted rarely because it dwells near the sea floor - the institute scooped up their find 700m below the water's surface off the coast of Portimao.

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The frilled shark has a remarkably simple anatomy, probably because of a lack of nutrients in its aquatic environment. The largest the frilled shark can grow is up to six feet long that is the size of a tall man.

The Portuguese Institute for the Sea and Atmosphere has named it as a "living fossil".

However, the team unknowingly unearthed one of the rarest and most ancient animals on the planet.

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