Let’s be honest, the ocean is a scary place – not only is it cold, full of fish poop and worst of all, seaweed, it’s also almost completely unexplored.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimated in 2000, we’d explored exactly five per cent of the ocean floor, leaving a whopping 95 per cent a mystery.
Therefore, it should come as no surprise when people discover some new exotic beastie paddling about in the dark, cold waters of the world’s oceans and yet some discoveries are so shocking, they literally beggar belief.
Just like the frilled shark – a snake-like shark found by scientists off the coast of the Algarve, Portugal, while they worked on reducing unwanted catches in commercial fishing.
How can you not love science when we find an "ancient shark with a snake head and 300 teeth" that grows up to 6 ft long still swimming in our oceans? Best news of the morning, hands down. https://t.co/H4yYSAGeOg pic.twitter.com/0tw6ul4jQH
— Megan Watzke (@megwatzke) November 13, 2017
The creature, which resembles a snake crossed with a shark – crossed with my worst nightmares – boasts more than 300 teeth and was five feet long.
Scientists from Portugal’s Institute for the Sea and Atmosphere dubbed the shark a ‘living fossil’ because remains of other specimens have been dated back 80 million years.
The frilled shark is rarely caught alive and the BBC reports little is known in terms of its biology or environment because it lives at great depths in the Atlantic Ocean, as well as of the coasts of Australia, New Zealand and Japan.
Sic Noticas, a Portuguese news organisation, reports Professor Margarida Castro of the University of the Algarve, said the shark gets its name from the frilled arrangement of its 300 teeth, which allows it to trap squid and other fish in sudden lunges.
The frilled shark was first discovered by German ichthyologist (fish scientist) Ludwig Döderlein, while he visited Japan between 1879 and 1881, bringing two specimens back to Vienna, Austria.
It’s believed the shark is the inspiration for sailors tales of sea serpents and specimens over six feet long, which have been seen.
Interestingly, despite being an 80-million-year old species, the frilled shark is relatively young for a living fossil.
For comparison, the horseshoe crab has remained almost exactly the same for the last 450 million years.
However, the frilled shark isn’t the only ‘sea monster’ discovered recently – nature reserve inspector, Maria Shitov, discovered the remains of a ginormous 20-foot long sea cow, reports the Daily Mail.
Shitova spotted the protruding ribs of the skeleton sticking out of the ground on the far-flung Commander Islands in the Bering Sea.
Sea cows were regularly seen by Arctic explorers who hunted the slow-moving mammals to extinction, just 27-years after they were discovered.