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Rarely seen 'living fossil' frilled shark caught off Algarve coast

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The researchers believe that the animal has remained unchanged over the millions of years, and how it managed to survive unchanged when nearly all species were wiped out or forced to evolve to survive is a mystery. The interesting thing was that the prehistoric frilled shark was caught alive and not in the form of fossils.

Researchers from IPMA and the Centre for Maritime Sciences recorded the catching of a shark "with unusual features" by a commercial trawler, as part of an "initiative to minimise undesirable catches in European fisheries". The scientists named the creature as Chlamydoselachus anguineus for its gills - the frilled arrangement of 300 teeth, neatly lined in 25 rows.

According to BBC, the scientists said the male fish measured 1.5 metres (5ft) in length and was caught at a depth of 700 metres (2,300 ft) in waters off the resort of Portimao. In total, the shark has six pairs of gills that have "frilly" edges.

The researchers caught the mysterious creature off the coast of the Algarve, which has a long, snake-like body and 300 teeth. It is rarely caught because it lives at great depths.

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The reason people are not much aware about this weird creature is because of its rare contact with human as it lives deep down the oceans, off the coasts of Japan, New Zealand and Australia. But scientists were unable to find out why it outlived its Cretaceous Period contemporaries.

However, unknowingly scientists unearthed one of the most ancient animals to have lived on the surface of this planet.

The frilled shark's mouth gives an appearance of it being bigger in size than other sharks; however, this is because the mouth stretches to the back of its head instead of ending beneath the skull.

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