A living fossil

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A living fossil

Stunned scientists have found a species of shark which has been in existence since the age of the dinosaurs. Researchers from Portugal’s Institute for the Sea and Atmosphere found a rare frilled shark off the coast of the Algarve. The prehistoric beast has been swimming the seas for up to 80 million years, judging by remains which have previously been found. This means the species has lived during the cretaceous period. Experts have dubbed it a “living fossil”. Other beasts that lived during the cretaceous period include Tyrannosaurus Rex, velociraptors, and the baryonyx – a relative of T-Rex.

Captured measuring 1.5 metres in length, the frilled shark was was found at a depth of 700 metres. Researchers were in the area working on a project for the European Union to "minimise unwanted catches in commercial fishing", they told Sic Noticias TV. The shark has a long, thin body with a wider head, but there is "little known in terms of its biology or environment”, as it lives so deep in the oceans of the Atlantic and off the coasts of Australia, New Zealand, and Japan.According to Professor Margarida Castro of the University of the Algarve, the jaw is packed with 300 teeth, and enables the animal to trap squid, fish, and other sharks in sudden lunges. The arrangement of its teeth is also where it gets its name from. Due to the way it moves in a snake-like fashion, some believe that the frilled shark was the inspiration behind old tales of sea serpents.

Very few of the species have been caught, and even when they are, the frilled shark rarely survives the journey to the laboratory. However, it is not the first time that one of the rare beasts has been caught. Last December, Russian fisherman Roman Fedortsov captured one of the prehistoric animals and uploaded the picture to Twitter.

Sourced and adapted from article at express.co.uk



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