Posted by: Scott Mardis on May 11th, 2014
A specimen of the rare Goblin Shark (Mitsukirina owstoni) was caught April 19th off of Key West, Florida. So far, this is only the second one of its kind caught in the Gulf. Always rare, they are more common off Japan. These fish are the only living representatives of the shark family Scapanorhynchidae, known from fossils as old as the early Cretaceous (approximately 110 million years ago). First described in fossil form in 1887, they were thought extinct until the discovery of the living form in 1897. Their thin, outwardly protruding teeth very much resemble the teeth of their close relatives, the Sand Tiger sharks (family Odontaspidae), but their feeding method and jaw mechanics are unique, as this video demonstrates:
The fossil forms may have reached 10 feet in length. The living form is generally thought to reach a maximum length of 12.6 feet, though the recent catch was estimated to be 18 feet long. More information about the recent catch is here: Rare goblin shark reportedly caught off Key West
A rare goblin shark was caught last month off the coast of Key West, Fla., in what biologists are calling “an important scientific discovery,”Carl Moore/courtesy of NOAA
Scott Mardis has been an active field investigator of the Lake Champlain “Monster” since 1992. He is a former sustaining member of the defunct International Society of Cryptozoology and a former volunteer worker in the Vertebrate Paleontology Dept. of the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences (1990-1992). He co-authored a scientific abstract about the Lake Champlain hydrophone sounds for the Acoustical Society of America in 2010. He currently lives in Bradenton, Florida.