Rare “Living Fossil” Shark Found in Japan

January 29, 2007
From Original Article By
Katrin Schmiedekampf

Earlier this month, amateur fisherman Haruo Kanbe stared out at sea in horror — a monster fish was swimming directly towards him. At first glance the creature snaking through the water looked like a giant eel. The cloudy eyes were especially striking. Triangular teeth flashed inside its open maw.

Normally, the prehistoric creatures dwell between 600 and 1,200 meters (between 1,969 and 3,937 feet) below the ocean surface. Until now, few people have had the opportunity to come face to face with a living specimen.

The frilled shark has hardly changed for 95 million years. That’s why it’s considered a “living fossil.” Unlike other types of shark that evolved later, the frilled shark has six gills on each side instead of five. The first pair of gills is coadunate with the underside of the neck; the protruding tissue gives the shark its name.

One of the creature’s most striking features is that both its upper and its lower jaw are equipped with fork-like, equi-sized teeth.The creature from the depths is one of the rarest fish in the world. Specimens occasionally show up in the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic oceans. They feature on the Red List of Threatened Species compiled annually by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN).

Find MUCH MORE info in the full version of this article at Spiegel Online.
View full-sized images of the above photos at Spiegel’s Gallery.

Visit the Japanese Marine Park’s website to read the original press release and see more photos.


9 Responses to Rare “Living Fossil” Shark Found in Japan

  1. fred whuttle says:

    wow thats cool

  2. lonni says:

    this website is awsome!

  3. lance says:

    wow man!!!this is awesome…can you pls. post some other creatures which is not been seen..thank you…

  4. ganesh says:

    it is very good too see a rare shark like this.

  5. i thought i would go my whole life not seeing a real fossil this is a life saver.

  6. John says:

    Okay i did think this was really cool, but what gave humens the right to take it from its inviroment. We allready kill pretty much everything we come in contact with. Why could’t they just leave it in its own inviroment insted of bringing it home to show ma and pa.. Humens sucks, rare fossise shark we probably wont see again rocks.. sorry rocked.

  7. Anonymous says:

    wow that is U-G-L-Y

  8. philip says:

    it’s amazing this creature i havve to do a school project on a sea creature and i found this one soo interesting that i am chooseing it

  9. Based Legend says:

    Dang.. thats just amazing we can find things like that. and yes i agree with john. they should of left it. how many more of them could there possibly be.?

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