Something out of 'Alien': Rare frilled shark caught off Australian coast

Story highlights

  • It has a mouth packed full of needle-like teeth and a body like an eel's
  • The shark is known to live at extreme depths

(CNN)It looks like something out of "Alien" but has more in common with "Jurassic Park."

It's a rare frilled shark that has been caught by a fisherman in Australia, where no one remembers ever seeing one caught before.
    With a mouth packed full of needle-like teeth and a body like an eel's, the 6-foot-long frilled shark is sometimes described as a fish "fossil" that dates back 80 million years.
    David Guillot says that it's like nothing he or his fellow fisherman have ever seen in the deep waters in Australia's southwest.
    "It was really prehistoric-looking, freaky really," Guillot said.
    He caught the fish while trawling for fish at 1,100 meters a week ago and thought he might have discovered some new type of shark.
    "I've been fishing 30 years and never saw anything like it. So I brought it in," he said by phone from his boat Thursday. "Honestly, we thought we had caught a brand new species, maybe discovered something wild."
    The shark is known to live at extreme depths in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans but is very infrequently caught because its habitat is mostly off-limits to fishing, said Simon Boaz of Australia's South East Trawl Fishing Industry Association.
    Guillot said that the frilled shark was still alive when he got it to the surface. But it did not live after being pulled up from the frigid depths. So he offered it to a local museum.