Yesterday, we introduced you to the Nope Shark, pulled out of the sea by horrified Australian fishermen. But is it an eldritch monstrosity from the deep? No! Meet the frilled shark.
Why do they call it the “frilled shark?”
Because it has six pairs of gill slits, making it look all fancy. Also, back when they discovered it in the 1880s, all the good shark names had been taken. The other options are lizard shark, scaffold shark, and silk shark. Silk shark! No wonder this thing is scary, with a name like that, it has to be to keep the other sharks from laughing at it.
So it’s really a shark? Because it doesn’t look like a shark.
Yep, it is a shark, specifically Chlamydoselachus anguineus, one of two remaining in the family Chlamydoselachidae. It’s also commonly called a “living fossil” since the sinuous body, rows of needle-like teeth, and other features have been evolved out of most sharks.
Is it going to eat me?
Not unless you hang out at the bottom of the ocean a lot; it’s generally found on the lower continental shelf and upper continental slope. Besides, frilled sharks generally eat octopi, squid, and other squishy creatures of the sea, as well as the occasional fish with bones and other sharks. That said, it’s a heck of a way to go; it’s believed the frilled shark lunges forward like a snake, swallowing its prey whole and impaling it on its needley teeth, making it impossible to escape.
That sounds like every myth about sea monsters, ever.
In fact, many folklorists and cryptozoologists believe that the frilled shark is one of several creatures that inspired legends about sea serpents. Along with, you know, actual sea snakes, which, man, if you think this thing is scary, try having a poisonous snake swimming after you.
Do they look any less freaky when they’re alive?
Can’t sleep, frilled shark will eat me.
Don’t worry, it hasn’t grown legs. Well, yet.