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

13 November 2017

A little-known frilled shark has been found off the Algarve coast in Portugal by scientists, who were conducting research on minimising unwanted catches in European fisheries.

The prehistoric shark, called the frilled shark, is one of the oldest - nearly present since 80 million years - and reportedly the creepiest one still thriving under the ocean waters.

The discovery of the shark - a male 1.5 metres in length (5ft) and caught at a depth of 700 metres (2,300ft) off the resort of Portimao - was considered a rare find.

The shark has a long, slim and a body similar to a snake's.

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.

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

In fact, it's so rarely seen, despite being around long before humans, that it wasn't even discovered before the 19th century.

According to researchers, having extra grills, eyes on the side of heads and spineless backfins are some of the specialities of this oldest group of sharks. There is also little footage of the shark in its natural habitat. Experts do not know the representatives of this species well, as they are found in great depths in the Atlantic, as well as near the shores of Australia, Japan and New Zealand.

Samuel Garman, the first researcher to have studied the frilled shark, had reportedly said that the snake-like movements of the frilled shark may have inspired the sea serpent stories of sailors from yore.

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