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

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

The Portuguese Institute for Sea and Atmosphere has dubbed the creature a "living fossil" as it is one of those rare animals that are still alive, despite belonging to an era when dinosaurs like the very-famous Tyrannosaurus Rex were still roaming the earth.

In a new find, scientists have discovered an incredibly unique and mysterious shark species whose lineage dates all the way back to prehistoric times.

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A group of scientists working on an European Union research and conservation mission captured a terrifying-looking shark off the Algarve coast in August - but struggled to identify it, until now.

The male shark, which measured 1.5m, was caught near the resort of Portimao. The gills are frilly with fluffy edges.

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The frilled shark is found across the Atlantic, including off the coast of Norway and in the waters of Scotland, Galicia in Spain, the Azores, Madeira and the Canary Islands, as well as in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, namely off Japan, Australia and New Zealand. Another study of a Suruga Bay inhabitant showed that frilled sharks may also have the longest gestation period of any living creature, 42 months. Scientists only know that these are one of the creepiest creatures existing beneath the ocean surface.

The frilled shark's mouth gives an appearance of it being bigger in size than other sharks; however, this is because the mouth stretches to the back of its head instead of ending beneath the skull.

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Professor Margarida Castro from the University of the Algarve said that the frilled shark gets its name from the frilled arrangement of its 300 triangular-shaped, needle-sharp teeth in 25 rows that allows it to trap other sharks, fish, and squid in sudden lunges.

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