20 Interesting Facts about Frilled Shark to Know What this Creature Is

In the course of ecological research focused on seals along the coast of Portugal, scientists have recently captured a captivating specimen – a prehistoric shark adorned with 300 razor-sharp teeth. This enigmatic creature, measuring a remarkable 6 feet in length, has been identified as the Frilled Shark (Chlamydoselachus anguineus), one of the oldest known species to date, with an existence dating back some 80 million years. The Frilled Shark’s unique features and deep-sea lifestyle have sparked considerable interest within the scientific community and the public at large, presenting us with an opportunity to delve into the exploration of this ancient life form. Below is a more detailed description of the 20 characteristics associated with the Frilled Shark:

1. Ancient Existence: The Frilled Shark is an ancient shark species that has existed on Earth since ancient times, offering researchers a crucial window into past marine ecosystems.

2. Living Fossil: Termed as a “living fossil,” the Frilled Shark retains an almost unchanged appearance over its 80-million-year evolutionary history. Its physical structure seems to have undergone minimal adaptive changes throughout its extensive evolution.

3. Unique Gill Structure: Unlike typical sharks with five pairs of gill slits, the Frilled Shark possesses six pairs of gill slits. This unique trait is possibly an adaptation to its deep-sea habitat with lower oxygen supply.

4. Name Origins: The name “Frilled Shark” is derived from the special structure of its gill slits, which overlap and fold, creating the appearance of frills and thus earning the name “Frilled Shark.”

5. Teeth Arsenal: One of the Frilled Shark’s distinctive features is its mouth filled with 25 rows and a total of 300 sharp needle-like teeth. These teeth serve to grasp prey securely and prevent escape.

6. Predatory Mechanism: These sharp teeth are not meant for chewing but for capturing prey. Once prey is captured, the Frilled Shark can engulf it whole and initiate digestion through the chemical processes in its stomach.

7. Flexible Jaw: The flexibility of the Frilled Shark’s lower jaw allows it to adapt to various shapes and sizes of prey. Once prey is captured, the Frilled Shark swiftly ingests it, leaving little chance for escape.

8. Varied Diet: The Frilled Shark primarily feeds on cephalopods, particularly squids and octopuses. However, its diet also includes a variety of fish and may even encompass other shark species.

9. Hunting Hypotheses: While the hunting method of the Frilled Shark remains unseen, scientists propose hypotheses based on the shape and position of its fins. It likely employs a snake-like approach, maneuvering through the water and striking at the opportune moment.

10. Global Distribution: The distribution range of the Frilled Shark spans numerous regions of the Atlantic Ocean, from Norway to Brazil, as well as different areas of the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, including Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States.

11. Deep-Sea Dweller: The Frilled Shark predominantly inhabits the deep layers of the ocean, typically residing at depths of 50 to 200 meters. These stable deep-sea environments provide suitable conditions for the Frilled Shark’s survival.

12. Remarkable Adaptability: While the Frilled Shark thrives in the deep sea, several specimens have been captured from even deeper waters, with depths reaching nearly 1600 meters, showcasing its remarkable adaptability.

13. Elusive Observations: The Frilled Shark’s wide-ranging activity is spread across the globe, yet due to its deep-sea habitat, direct human observations are relatively limited. Most knowledge comes from bycatch in deep-sea fisheries.

14. Living Fossil Status: The Frilled Shark is considered a “living fossil,” with its appearance and ecological traits having changed little since the Cretaceous period, offering vital clues for evolutionary research.

15. Sensory Adaptations: Lacking nictitating membranes, the Frilled Shark likely relies more heavily on other sensory methods, such as the lateral line system and touch, to perceive its surroundings in the deep-sea environment.

16. Broad Distribution: The Frilled Shark’s distribution covers an extensive range, spanning across various regions of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans.

17. Marine Predator Diet: The feeding habits of the Frilled Shark exhibit typical marine predator characteristics, primarily targeting fish, squid, and other marine organisms, showcasing its adaptability in food selection.

18. Limited Threat to Humans: Despite its potentially intimidating appearance, scientists generally believe that the Frilled Shark is not a threat to humans. Its preference is to feed on marine life like cephalopods.

19. Ovoviviparous Reproduction: The Frilled Shark is ovoviviparous, with females nurturing embryos internally. The gestation period may last several months, and each litter tends to be relatively small, possibly contributing to their limited population size.

20. Longevity and Enigmatic History: The Frilled Shark’s elusive nature and deep-sea habitat have made it challenging for scientists to accurately determine its lifespan. While there’s no recorded artificial breeding of the species, and wild Frilled Shark lifespans remain uncertain, estimates suggest they may live up to 25 years in their natural environment. This enigmatic history and the mysteries surrounding its life cycle contribute to the fascination and ongoing scientific inquiry into the Frilled Shark’s biology and behavior.


In conclusion, the Frilled Shark serves as a unique gateway for us to peer into ancient ecosystems as a living fossil. Its age-old features and adaptations to the deep-sea environment evoke awe for its extensive evolutionary journey. However, despite the wealth of knowledge we have acquired about the Frilled Shark, its deep-sea lifestyle continues to harbor numerous mysteries, awaiting further exploration and revelation by scientists. By studying this remarkable creature, we gain a better understanding of the Earth’s ancient ecosystems and provide valuable insights for future environmental conservation efforts.

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