Shark Dating Back to 800 Million Years Found Swimming Offcoast of Portugal

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

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.

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 ultra-rare frilled shark species has over 300 teeth and jaws, like that of a predator and a snake-like body.

Scientists working on the Algarve coast were in for a surprise when they caught a rare frilled shark earlier this week.

The shark is said to date back 80 million years and features a range of primitive features, such as 300 sharp teeth and a weakened vertebrae among other attributes.

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The shark has been the same from inside as well as outside since the time of the dinosaurs.

The Institute said the male fish measured 1.5 metres (5ft) in length and was caught at a depth of 700 metres (2,300 ft) in waters off the resort of Portimao. In total, the shark has six pairs of gills that have "frilly" edges.

The creature gets its name from the frilled nature of its teeth, which allow it to devour its food.

Its typical habitat is deep underwater in the Atlantic and off the coasts of Australia, New Zealand and Japan. Scientists only know that these are one of the creepiest creatures existing beneath the ocean surface. Another study of a Suruga Bay inhabitant showed that frilled sharks may also have the longest gestation period of any living creature, 42 months.

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