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Sporting the triangular head of a snake with teeth fit for a garbage disposal, the rare frill shark was recently captured by researchers off the coast of Portugal, the BBC is reporting. The scientists were using a trawler to identify ways to “minimize unwanted catches in commercial fishing” when they pulled the 80 million-year-old “living fossil” on board.
— National Aquarium (@NatlAquarium) October 31, 2016
Professor Margarida Castro of the University of the Algarve reportedly told the outlet Sic Notices that the shark’s name stems from the “frilled arrangement” of its 300 teeth, “which allows it to trap squid, fish and other sharks in sudden lunges.”
While there is very little documentation of the shark in its natural habitat, it only takes one shot to see why Samuel Garman, the first scientist to study the creature, reportedly thought it served as inspiration for sailors’ legends of sea serpents.