Prehistoric shark caught in Portugese waters, scientists call it a 'living fossil'

Prehistoric shark caught in Portugese waters, scientists call it a 'living fossil'

Scientists in Portugal have captured a shark, which is literally from the age of the dinosaurs, and dubbed it as a living fossil because of its origin that can be traced back to 80 million years. This summer, researchers found one alive and thriving off the coast of Portugal, adding yet more clues about the resilience of this ancient sea creature.

The researchers believe that the animal has remained unchanged over the millions of years, and how it managed to survive unchanged when nearly all species were wiped out or forced to evolve to survive is a mystery.

The unique-looking male frill shark is 1.5m long, and scientists have figured out that it has 300 teeth neatly lined in 25 rows and a snake-like body.

The discovery was made when a team of European Union scientists were searching in the depths of Atlantic Ocean to find a way to "minimize unwanted catches in commercial fishing". The shark has six pair of gills which is frilly edges.

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Professor Margarida Castro of the University of the Algarve reportedly said that the shark gets its name from the frilled arrangement of its 300 teeth, "which allows it to trap squid, fish and other sharks in sudden lunges".

Not much is known about the shark's environment or biology because it lives in great depths of water, which is also why it is rarely caught. Scientists date it back to the Cretaceous Period - when the Tyrannosaurus Rex and Triceratops roamed the planet.

The Portuguese Institute for the Sea and Atmosphere has named it as a "living fossil". They also said that the frilled shark resides off the coast of Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. Scientists only know that these are one of the creepiest creatures existing beneath the ocean surface.

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