Shark Dating Back to 800 Million Years Found Swimming Offcoast of Portugal

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The frilled shark has rarely been encountered alive, and thus poses no danger to humans, although scientists have accidentally cut themselves examining the species teeth.

The rare frilled shark was captured aboard a trawler by the researchers who were working on a European Union project to "minimise unwanted catches in commercial fishing", Sic Noticias TV reports. It also has a rather unique teeth arrangement, but there's little else known about the shark's biology or ecology.

After noticing the creature's unusual appearance, the commercial fishermen handed it over to a research team from the Institute for the Sea and Atmospheres, who were working on a project to decrease unwanted catches in commercial fishing. The gills of the shark has frilly, fluffy edges, but the cuddly factor ends abruptly there.

According to a press release by the Alliance of Mediterranean News Agencies, scientists from the country's Institute For The Sea and Atmosphere have dubbed the shark a "living fossil", as remains of the shark date back around 80 million years.

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Professor Margarida Castro of the University of the Algarve said that the shark got its name from the frilled nature of its teeth which helped it to rapidly engulf its food.

The species caught was a male measuring 1.5 metres (5ft) in length and was caught at a depth of 700 metres (2,300 ft) in waters off the resort of Portimao.

The reason people are not much aware about this freakish creature is because of its rare contact with human as it lives deep down the oceans, off the coasts of Japan, New Zealand and Australia. But scientists were unable to find out why it outlived its Cretaceous Period contemporaries. Scientists only know that these are one of the creepiest creatures existing beneath the ocean surface.

Frilled sharks are called also "living fossils" because they have barely changed from the prehistoric times.

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