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Japanese Marine Park Captures Rare 'Living Fossil' Frilled Shark; Pictures of a Live Specimen 'Extremely Rare'

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SHIZUOKA, Japan -- A species of shark rarely seen alive because its natural habitat is 600 metres or more 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 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 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 1000 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.

Video: Frilled Shark at Japanese Marine Park

Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of, its staff or its advertisers.

Reader Comments

29 people have commented so far. cloud add your comment

That was astounding! If you find another one,(in good condition of course), you should strap a camera to it and find out what it does, how it behaves, what it eats and how it hunts its food.
   comment# 1   - Timothy Gibson · Travellers Rest, SC. · Jan 26, 2007 @ 12:43pm

I am 13 yrs old. And all i can think about is doing marine biology. And All i have to say is, wow that is one of the most exciting and interesting things i've ever seen in my life. And i hope you can learn more about them.
   comment# 2   - tori · virginia · Jan 26, 2007 @ 2:57pm

you need to add more pictures and talk more about these sharks. hey maybe even someday, you would write a little story about other fish under water because i really enjoyed this story. so, in that story maybe you can take my advice.
   comment# 3   - Lance · Texas and north america · Jan 26, 2007 @ 3:53pm

this rare fossil is the most amazing thing i ever seen i hope you find many more amazing things underwater but i still dont understand why scientists can't build a powerful submarine to go whwre they might be more living fosiils from prehistoric times. i hope there is more live fossils to be sound in the world. i think sharks are facinating especially this amazing creature that lives in our world.
   comment# 4   - alejandro · phoenix, AZ · Jan 26, 2007 @ 6:15pm

Wow! It's amazing! It's sad that it didn't live very long though. Maybe it only came up because it was sick and dying. Pretty crazy! Very cool, though. We've been discussing sharks in my Zoology class here at Basic High School, and this is a cool little finding. I think it would be cool if they could find out even more about it, like they've been trying to do with the coelacanth. It's pretty cool.
   comment# 5   - Bekah · Henderson, Nevada · Jan 31, 2007 @ 12:07pm

oh my god they look so scary. I would never go swimming in a beach. I stopped swimming 4 years ago because I got stung by a sting ray I. was in so much pain. I will never go swimming in a pool at a beach
   comment# 6   - domanikia washington · boston,mass · Feb 5, 2007 @ 11:51am

it is to bad it died it looked very cool it would have been cool to see it in person
   comment# 7   - payton · menominee,michagan · Feb 10, 2007 @ 12:02pm

this fish is amazing aand is very interesting to look at. it is to bad it died shortly after being caught. but every thing has 2 die it looks very very very very creepy
   comment# 8   - jessica gardner · williamston, nc · Feb 14, 2007 @ 4:33pm

Hi I'm 13 years old and I'd just like to say thanks for giving me the answer for my work.
   comment# 9   - Zoe · Australia · Mar 19, 2007 @ 5:56pm

You guys are dubbys!!!!!! you don't keep a wild creature captive just to study it!!! You killed it! It is all your fault that a innocent wild creature died!!!!
   comment# 10   - Poo on you dubbies · Sydney, Australia · Apr 24, 2007 @ 3:17pm

This shark is amazing!! I just wish they could have gotten pictures of it without taking it into captivity. These are rare animals and they killed it! Insane pictures, however.
   comment# 11   - Debbie · New York City, New York · May 5, 2007 @ 11:11am

The shark itself is amazing but what is going to happen to it's remains? Will they donate it to a museum, will they continue to research it? What will happen?
   comment# 12   - daniel galvan · Graham, Texas · May 7, 2007 @ 9:01am

kill all the sharks, there usless, just eating machines, a danger too are waters were we swim and fish
   comment# 13   - william · rochester, pennsylvania · Aug 3, 2007 @ 12:33pm

i think that this creature is amazing and that too sharks many of them are being killed instead of studied in there natural environment.
   comment# 14   - sarah · massachuttess · Mar 7, 2008 @ 9:46pm

This fish is very interesting i seen one on tv and have been looking for pictures of it for a long time, and never could find one. all of the pictures and stories i have read about this fish all of them have died a few hours out of captivity.
   comment# 15   - chad · kentucky usa · Apr 6, 2008 @ 6:44am

Interesting, Reminds me of a sea serpent. Reminds me of a cookie cutter shark to. A very large cookie cutter shark.
   comment# 16   - tristan · Inez,Kentucky · May 6, 2008 @ 5:39am

Hey when you get more pics of the frilled shark then can you please message me back and tell me and well i think this thing is cool..!!!!!!!!
   comment# 17   - Shelby Willey · Hillsboro,Oh · May 6, 2008 @ 8:23am

thanks for helping with research
   comment# 18   - Omar Extreamero · etheopia · May 13, 2008 @ 6:50am

im 11 and this is very cool. im very interested in weird stuff, but not gross stuff:[ you should find another one and get information on it! i think that its sad that you murderd that one by capturing him or her.
   comment# 19   - tiffy · illinois · May 18, 2008 @ 5:19pm

its so scary!=O =O =O =O =O =O =O =O =O
   comment# 20   - angel · alaska · Oct 6, 2008 @ 10:21am

Is this even real? Is there more film footage on this creature? If it is real; it is overwhelming. Please add more info...
   comment# 21   - William · Fall River, Masachusetts, USA · Oct 31, 2008 @ 4:33am

I have many disagreement with william of rochester pennsylvania and have only on thing to say, your views on this amazing animal and are just plain mean. We kill any animal we feel because we think we are better. I find this statement single minded and just plain stupid.
   comment# 22   - Nick White · Rockford America · Dec 5, 2008 @ 7:44am

lol what the heck is this? I wanna cook it and eat hahahahahaha what a loser
   comment# 23   - Pauly · Koreea · Jan 28, 2009 @ 5:47pm

amazing and far beautiful catching a prehistoric animal they should have seen its condition before being caught find a male frilled shark try to have babies till it grows its population it doesnt eat humans but sharks COME ON thats awsome it should be my pet LOL!!!!!!!
   comment# 24   - paul · illinois · Mar 19, 2009 @ 12:50pm

ur all dits. it came up because it was dieing and like dits you captured it to study the poor creature.and williom from pensylvania your the worst. did you know that people kill a hundred times as much as sharks. these creatures just want to live so we should leave them alone.
   comment# 25   - kat · painted post, united states · Jul 20, 2009 @ 8:53am

thats freaken scary
   comment# 26   - kelsi · darko ok · Sep 25, 2009 @ 9:16am

i thought its gills looked disgustingly sick! in fact it was an ugly son of a gun
   comment# 27   - tammy · new boston usa · Nov 28, 2009 @ 2:08pm

Humans doesnt kill a hundred times more sharks than sharks kills humans, its more like a thousand times more than the sharks but anyway what a .. beautiful creature in its own way
   comment# 28   - Magnus Petersen · Hvalsø Denmark · Dec 4, 2009 @ 6:24am

I think we should leave them alone to get on with there lives, so they don't become even more endangered.
   comment# 29   - Lilah Jane · Newark, USA · Jul 30, 2010 @ 11:20pm
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