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Researchers just discovered an ancient shark that will make you want to avoid the ocean forever


November 14, 2017

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Good thing it’s winter. You probably won’t want to visit the beach after you hear about a new ancient shark discovered by researchers.

Portuguese scientists recently captured a “shark from the age of the dinosaurs,” according to BBC, along the Algarve Coast.

The scientists called the capture a “living fossil” because similar remains date back 80 million years, around the time of the dinosaurs.

The frilled shark has close to 300 teeth and a snakelike head.

“The shark is named after its gills, which have frilly, fluffy edges, but the cuddly factor ends abruptly there,” according to The Washington Post.

Oh, and it’s still swimming out there today.

“Its prehistoric contemporaries, such as Tyrannosaurus rex and triceratops, died out long ago, but the frilled shark is still swimming around deep below the surface of the world’s oceans, scientists say,” according to The Post.

Little else is known about the shark’s biology or environment, the scientists said, according to BBC. This is mostly because the shark lives in the ocean depths around Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

“It is rarely caught, and even then examples do not often make it to research laboratories. There is also little footage of the shark in its natural habitat,” according to BBC.

As The Washington Post reported, the researchers said the shark likely inspired stories of “sea serpents” because of its slimy nature.

Scientists often use the internet to try to identify and share news about new creatures they find in the ocean. Back in September, scientists shared photos of a mysterious “fanged creature” discovered along a Texas beach after Hurricane Harvey wreaked havoc on the coast, according to the Deseret News.

Photos of the creature inspired conspiracy theories on Twitter about its origins.

It later led to experts on Twitter identifying the sea creature as a “fangtooth snake eel.”

"I follow a lot of scientists and researchers,” said Preeti Desai, the original poster of the creature’s photos, according to BBC. “There's such a great community of these folks that are very helpful, especially when it comes to answering questions about the world or identifying animals and plants.”

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