“Living Fossil” Shark Captured

Posted by: Loren Coleman on January 24th, 2007

Japanese frilled shark

It is no an unknown cryptid discovered or a new species, but like the underwater footage of the giant squid which rocked the media, there is new images of a very rare deep sea shark being discussed widely today. The remarkable-looking frilled shark (Chlamydoselachus anguineus) are a bit camera shy because they live so very deep, oh, at about 1800 to 3000 feet. Intriguingly, this might be the source of sea serpent sightings, during those infrequent times it has surfaced (but please note it swims – like all sharks – from side to side, not up and down like sea monsters and marine mammals.

Cryptobuddy David Pescovitz’s blog talks about this event at Boing Boing, and the The Daily Mail highlights it too.

Here is a CNN report on this rare frilled shark, and more photos below.

TOKYO, Japan (Reuters) — A species of shark rarely seen alive because its natural habitat is about 2,000 feet under the sea was captured on film by staff at a Japanese marine park this week.

The Awashima Marine Park in Shizuoka, south of Tokyo, was alerted by a fisherman at a nearby port on Sunday that he had spotted an odd-looking eel-like creature with a mouthful of needle-sharp teeth.

Marine park staff caught the 1.6 metre (5 ft) long creature, which they identified as a female frilled shark, sometimes referred to as a “living fossil” because it is a primitive species that has changed little since prehistoric times.

The shark appeared to be in poor condition when park staff moved it to a seawater pool where they filmed it swimming and opening its jaws.

“We believe moving pictures of a live specimen are extremely rare,” said an official at the park. “They live between 600 and 1,000 metres under the water, which is deeper than humans can go.”

“We think it may have come close to the surface because it was sick, or else it was weakened because it was in shallow waters,” the official said.

The shark died a few hours after being caught.

Frilled sharks, which feed on other sharks and sea creatures, are sometimes caught in the nets of trawlers but are rarely seen alive.CNN

Japanese frilled shark
Japanese frilled shark

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

15 Responses to ““Living Fossil” Shark Captured”

  1. Raptorial responds:

    It’s always amazing to have a chance to see these primordial-looking creatures, even if it’s just a photograph. I’ve read on these sharks but have never actually seen a photograph to accompany the text.

  2. RockerEm responds:

    WEIRD! But very interesting and indeed intriguing at the same time

  3. kittenz responds:

    Makes you wonder just what other presumed-extinct animals are living in the seas.

  4. Scrabbydoo responds:

    I know one thing for sure, that if I turned around while diving and saw that first photo looking back at me it really would be a “Wet Suit”! LOL Sorry couldn’t pass that one up, but that first photo really does look like some of the reported sea serpents. I can see why someone frightened by the frilled shark could think they’d just seen a monster. Beautiful photos of a very interesting animal!

  5. a_welch90 responds:

    Very cool looking animal, it’s really photogenic!

  6. Harpo responds:

    A couple of those pictures remind me a little bit of the infamous “old postcard” fish – especially around the eye/nose/mouth area and the lack of a noticeable dorsal fin. Maybe a related/similiar species?

  7. youcantryreachingme responds:

    Whilst propelling itself side to side, it could still conceivably surface, dive down, surface, etc.

    When I saw the photo, my first reaction was WOW! What a cool looking shark!

    Fish never cease to amaze me! 😀

    Very sad it died, but unsurprising.

  8. Sunny responds:

    What awesome pics.

    Harpo, the more I look at those pictures and the old postcard, the more I think you just might be on to something.

  9. joppa responds:

    Wow! Looks like some of the alien sea creatures George Lucas dreamed up for Star Wars.

  10. alaskankev responds:

    I was just going to comment that this shark looked exactly like the fish in the old postcard photo that was on here before, but harpo beat me to it! It was the first thing that came to mind when I saw the photos of this amazing shark! The similarities are amazing.

  11. Sunny responds:

    This one (#40M2631-02) looks positively reptilian (and how many called the Postcard Creature a snake?)

    Still not positive, but “frilled shark” is the most convincing suggestion we’ve had yet for the Postcard Creature. (everything else comes with a “yeah, but…”)

    The sources I found says that it lives in tropical and temperate waters worldwide — thus it absolutely could have been found (washed up? caught?) in any of the palm-treed places we discussed.

  12. dharkheart responds:

    The first impression I got of the shark was how unusually snake-like it appears. I did a google image search for ‘frilled shark’, and many of the images show the head as snake-like. I wonder if this, or something similar, is what’s in Loch Ness?

  13. DavidFullam responds:

    Poor thing, such a shame it died.

  14. skeptik responds:

    I agree.
    “Wohoo a species we thought extinct!… woops. it died.”

  15. brittney m responds:

    I saw this on youtube and I couldn’t believe my eyes.

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