Friday May 06, 2022
Ancient shark with snakehead and 300 teeth caught off Portugal
Mustafa Al-Zoubi, Rlixa
An image of the five-foot-long shark with 300 teeth.
A five-foot-long shark with 300 teeth was caught in a fishing vessel in Portugal. Officials said that a trawler plucked the shark from over 2,000 feet below the water’s surface.
It is a member of the Hammerhead family.
The frilled shark is called a living fossil, because it has changed little over the past 80 million years.
This type of fish has been swimming in the depths since the dinosaurs roamed the earth, and used their huge articulated jaws to make a great impact in catching squid and other fish.
In a statement issued by the Portuguese Institute of the Sea and Atmosphere, the researchers described the shark as having "a long, slender body and a head resembling a snake".
"The shark's 300 teeth allow it to trap squid, fish and other sharks in sudden bursts," said Professor Margarida Castro of the University of the Algarve.
The statement added that very little is known about the ancient species, although decorative sharks have been found in the Atlantic Ocean off the coasts of Australia and Japan.
It is unclear why this species survived for so long, but it has been speculated that the frilled shark was the inspiration for 19th century sailors' stories about sea snakes.
Scientists have not confirmed how many frill sharks are, because they are found at extreme depths, where they are shrouded in permanent darkness, crushing pressure, and extremely cold temperatures.
And in 2007, a frill shark believed to be sick was spotted near the surface of the water, but it died shortly after it was taken to a marine park.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists frilled sharks as a species of least concern, but they caution that increased commercial fishing in deep waters could increase the number of ships accidentally dredged.