Researchers on a European Union project unknowingly caught a member of an 80-million-year old shark species off the coat of Algarve, Portugal. The researchers told SIC Noticisas TV that the project was aimed to identify how to “minimize unwanted catches in commercial fishing."

Scientists believe that this specific type of shark, also known as Frilled Shark, is actually an immensely rare find and is even categorized as a “living fossil." The shark has been known to inhabit Earth long before man and still lives on in the depths of oceans.

The shark usually has 1.5 metres – 2 metres long snake like body. The head of the shark does not resemble any other shark species and strangely looks much like a snake. It has an astonishing 300 teeth that form a collar along the jaw.

The snake-like shark derives its name from its gills. It has a total of 6-pair of gills with the first pair of gills surrounding its throat. The assortment of the gills looks like ‘frills’ and that's basically why it has the name Frilled Shark.

The creepy looking dino-era shark thrives mainly on squids, octopuses, and other sharks, as identified by a Japanese study based on a similar frilled shark found in Surga Bay, Japan. While hunting the shark uses its frilled arrangement of teeth to “trap squid, fish and other sharks in sudden lunges” as mentioned by Professor Margarida Castro of the University to SIC Noticias TV.

Strangely enough, even though the species has existed so long, but wasn’t even discovered before the 19th century. The fish is usually found in the Atlantic waters around Australia, Japan and New Zealand and dwells at depths of 390-4,200 feet. The fact that it lives so deep into the ocean might be one of the reasons why it has been rarely sighted.

Similar finds of never-seen before creatures like the ‘faceless fish’ or a toothy eel of the Opichthidae family either in nets of commercial trawlers or along the sandy beaches have left people dumbfounded. Scientists believe that a massive amount of the Earth oceans are still unexplored. It goes on to show what kind of creatures can lurk in the darkness of these incredible depths. Or, right up close!

Source: newsweek, independent,