European Union scientists inadvertently captured a frill shark off the coast of Portugal this month. The creature dates back to the era of dinosaurs. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.
For the past few weeks, the wife and I (like everyone else) have been enamored with the hit series Stranger Things. We came in late to the party, sure, but the 80’s motif-slash-Lost Boys-slash-Goonies-style sci-fi series is a winning formula that’s utterly binge-able. If you’re unfamiliar with the show, without giving too much away, a band of middle-school aged misfits befriend a girl with kinetic abilities in hopes to rescue their friend who is kidnapped and taken to a parallel universe. The Upside Down, as they call it, is the home to what the Dungeons and Dragons-playing kids refer to as the Demagorgan – a crazy monster whose face opens up like a venus fly trap.
What does this have to do with the ocean? Well, the practice of riding waves often lulls us into forgetting how vast the world’s oceans actually are, and how many crazy creatures reside there – creatures that look more like they belong in the Upside Down than here on Earth. Case in point, the frill shark:
According to the BBC, researchers captured one of these guys trawling off the coast of Portugal for a European Union Project geared toward “minimizing unwanted catches in commercial fishing.” Scientists say evidence of the frill shark dates back 80 million years and called it “a living fossil.”
But for those worried about being attacked by one, fear not. In all the time its existed on Earth, the frill shark has had limited contact with humans, and is rarely seen its natural habitat, reports the Washington Post.