In a new find, scientists have discovered an incredibly unique and mysterious shark species whose lineage dates all the way back to prehistoric times.
The group of scientists caught the frilled shark at a depth of 700 metres while working on a project to minimise unwanted catches in commercial fishing.
The scientists from the country's Institute for the Sea and Atmosphere called the shark a "living fossil" because it has remained unchanged for 80 million years, making it one of very few species of such antiquity that's still around today. The gills are frilly with fluffy edges.
The creature gets its name from the frilled nature of its teeth, which allow it to devour its food.
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. The scientists further said that the rare and ancient creature might have inspired 19th-century tales of "sea serpents". Pretty much all other sharks have separate gills, but the frilled shark's first pair of gills stretch all the way across its throat.
Its jaw has more than 300 teeth neatly lined in 25 rows, which, according to professor Margarida Castro of the University of the Algarve, are specifically created to help it "to trap squid, fish and other sharks in sudden lunges", The Portugal News reported.
Scientists believed it to be a living fossil with a body like a snake but the jaws of a terrifying sea predator.