Those considering an ocean swim might think twice after seeing the real-life sea monster that was recently captured off the coast of Portugal.
According to The Sun, an unusually rare frilled shark — which has a body shaped like a snake and a head similar to that of a shark — was recently caught off of Portugal’s southern Algarve coast by fish stock researchers from the European Union.
The researchers were working on a project to minimize unwanted catches in commercial fishing when they encountered the shark.
The male creature measured 4 feet 9 inches, and was caught at a depth of 2,300 feet off the resort of Portimao.
Scientists say frilled shark species dates back 80 million years, coinciding with the peak of the dinosaurs.
The one recently caught by the researchers has been called a “living fossil” by the Portuguese Institute for the Sea and Atmosphere.
According to SIC Notícias TV, a rare frilled shark was caught off the coast of Portugal and boy is it terrifying.https://t.co/rLRFuqMteo
— Niggoku (@Im_Alistair) November 15, 2017
The frilled shark is named for the arrangement of its approximately 300 teeth.
University of Algarve professor Margarida Castro told the Portuguese website Sic Noticias that the shark’s teeth help it capture fish, squid and other sharks with sudden lunges.
— Strange Sounds (@Strange_Sounds) November 11, 2017
The first recorded encounter between humans and the frilled shark was in August 2004 when one was observed off the coast of the southeastern United States, Fox News reported.
The creature was also sighted near Japan in January 2007 and near Australia in December 2014.
According to the Japanese website Mantan, a frilled shark was captured alive in Tokyo Bay and filmed in May 2017.
Naomi Kimura, a Japanese marine expert, referred to the creature as the ancient shark of Lavca.
With it snake-like appearance and undulating movements, it is believed that the frilled shark has inspired at least some of the ancient tales of sea serpents.
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