Scientists have found a rare frilled shark, whose existence dates back to at least 80 million years ago, swimming off the coast of Portugal.
The frilled shark is considered a “living fossil” and scientists believe it has remained the same, both inside and out, since the Cretaceous Period, when the Tyrannosaurus Rex and Triceratops (species of dinosaurs) still roamed the planet, the Newsweek reported.
The shark was discovered off the Algarve coast by researchers who were working on a European Union project in the area, the Newsweek cited the BBC. The aim of the project was to “minimize unwanted catches in commercial fishing,” the researchers were quoted as saying.
The creature, known by scientists as Chlamydoselachus anguineus, is incredibly simple and unevolved, most likely due to the lack of nutrients found in its dwellings deep into the sea.
A Japanese study of the shark found in Suruga Bay, Japan, revealed that its diet is 61 percent cephalopods—the class to which squids and octopus belong.
This deep sea dweller is usually found between 390 and 4,200 feet below the surface, which is why it’s rarely seen and wasn’t even discovered before the 19th century (despite being around long before humans).
The shark caught this summer measured around five feet in length, but at their longest can be around six-and-a-half feet, the Newsweek reported citing IFL Science. Another study of a Suruga Bay inhabitant showed that frilled sharks may also have the longest gestation period of any living creature, 42 months.