A team of Portuguese scientists stumbled upon a weird-looking creature which turned out to be as old as dinosaurs. The creature in question is a shark with the head of a snake, with 300 frilled teeth arranged carefully inside its mouth. After closely analyzing it, they decided it was about 80 million years old, so it got classified as a living fossil.
The ancient shark was caught by commercial fishermen
The impressive catch was made by a commercial fishing trawler which traveled off the Algarve Coast, near Portimao. It came from a depth of 2,300 feet, so initially it was hard to see the fish looked a lot different than the others.
After the catch was brought on board, the fishermen saw something was wrong, so they decided to take the shark to the researchers for analysis. The researchers, coming from the Institute for the Sea and Atmospheres, were right in the middle of a project meant to help fishermen catch less species with no commercial purpose.
The creature has a set of 300 teeth to catch mollusks
The ancient shark turned out to be a male. It was about five feet long, and its body and head resembled that of a snake. However, the most interesting aspect of its appearance were its 300 frilled teeth, which lay arranged on 25 rows. This creature is known in science as Chlamydoselachus Anguineus.
Whenever the shark opens its mouth, it looks a lot bigger than it actually is. This happens because the mouth doesn’t end where it should, and it gapes open even beneath the head. Apart from the teeth, it also sports some frilled gills in the throat.
The creature sounds like taken out of a horror story with sea monsters, but humans needn’t worry. All those teeth are perfectly positioned for it to seize and catch sea mollusks while plunging upon them. Also, given the fact that it lives at such great depths, other details regarding its way of life remain unknown.
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons