Featured Image Credit: viralrad.com
By: Laura O’Brien
The ocean has been churning up amazing and almost unbelievable ancient creatures, and scientists have their work cut out for them. Mysterious animals such as the faceless fish have been captivating ocean enthusiasts and researchers alike. Discoveries of unknown and rarely-seen species are facilitated by advancements in technology which allow us to observe the ocean like never before. There have been so many incredible species that have been discovered thanks to researchers, but the frilled shark may be the most fascinating creature you’ll ever see.
Scientists recently found a frilled shark during a trawl off the coast of Portugal. The is highly unusual because frilled sharks are typically found well below the ocean’s surface, they have even been observed as deep as 5000 ft. The sharks are believed to strike at prey like a snake, instead of swimming at their prey like a shark, or wriggling like an eel; but scientists are not sure because they have not yet been observed hunting. Their needle-like teeth and flexible jaw could allow them to swallow prey whole, another ability that snakes also possess.
At a glance, the frilled shark is shockingly different from other sharks; it is actually hard to even believe that they are truly sharks. Its long body and giant, snake-shaped head are incredible to see. The shark is named for its frilled gills; and from the side, it appears to have a rather sinister smile. Frilled sharks are known to have existed for at least 80 million years. The living fossils have many other amazing characteristics as well, such as a long liver which allows them to float in the water by making them neutrally buoyant. The sharks breed year round, but it appears that their gestation takes a whopping 42 months. If this is true, then they have the longest known gestation period. Despite all that we do know about these strange sharks, there is still much that we do not know. We hope that scientists continue to discover amazing things about these amazing creatures!
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