A “horrific” frilled shark was caught off the coast of Australia, a rare catch that hasn’t been seen since 2007.

‘Living Fossil’ Frilled Shark Caught

David Guillot, who caught the fish, said he was so shocked by the sight of the frilled shark, he thought he had discovered a new species. “I’ve been fishing 30 years and never saw anything like it. So I brought it in. Honestly, we thought we had caught a brand new species, maybe discovered something wild,” Guillot told CNN.

The shark was alive when it was pulled up from the ocean, but died quickly after being removed from the water’s freezing temperatures. “It was like a large eel, probably 1.5 meters [about 5 feet] long, and the body was quite different to any other shark I’d ever seen…The head on it was like something out of a horror movie. It was quite horrific looking,” Guillot told reporters.

What Is A Frilled Shark?

Frilled sharks have origins that date back 80 million years, earning it the nickname “living fossil,” and are extremely rare. The animal is believed to live somewhere in the depths of the ocean, but has rarely been seen in its natural habitat, and was caught at 2,296 feet below the surface. The frilled shark measures around 6 feet in length, described as eel-like, and has 25 rows full of 300 shark teeth.

“It has 300 teeth over 25 rows, so once you’re in that mouth, you’re not coming out. Good for dentists, but it is a freaky thing. I don’t think you would want to show it to little children before they went to bed,” said Simon Boag of Australia’s South East Trawl Fishing Industry Assocation (SETFIA).

According to the SETFIA, this is the first frilled shark caught on record in Australia, and humans have yet to keep one alive in captivity. In 2007, fisherman in Japan caught a living frilled shark, but the shark quickly died.

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