Alex O'Brien

News

Fri, 23 Jan, 2015

Unsightly prehistoric shark found in south-eastern Australia

Unsightly prehistoric shark found in south-eastern Australia

An unsightly and quite scary-looking frilled shark has been found in south-eastern Australia.

With an ancestry dates back 80 million years, this species of shark, known as the “living fossil”, was caught on a fishing trawler in waters near Lakes Entrance in the Victoria's Gippsland region.

Simon Boag, from the South East Trawl Fishing Association, said it was the first time in living memory that a frilled shark had been sighted.

“We couldn't find a fisherman who had ever seen one before,” he said.

“It does look 80 million years old. It looks prehistoric, it looks like it's from another time!” 

The local fishermen were left perplexed at the sight of the two-metre-long creature, whose head and body resemble an eel, but whose tail is more reminiscent of a shark.

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) confirmed it to be a frilled shark, and while the species is known to the scientific community, it was a nonetheless rare and bizarre find for local fishermen.

“It has 300 teeth over 25 rows, so once you're in that mouth, you're not coming out,” Mr Boag said. 

“Good for dentists, but it is a freaky thing. I don't think you would want to show it to little children before they went to bed.”

“It's in our freezer at the moment,” said museum owner Coralie Griffiths.

“It'll be two or three weeks before it's on display.”