Prehistoric Ghost Shark Older Than Dinosaurs Filmed Alive for the First Time

The retractable sex organs on its head, however, have proved a harder mystery to crack, with marine biologists yet to figure out the precise reason for that particular evolutionary feature. "It would come up and bounce its nose off the lens and swim around and come back".

Before it was take, Ghost Sharks had only been seen in the Southern Hemisphere.

The discovery by an unmanned submersible operated by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute extends the odd fish's range by more than 6,000 kilometres. Where teeth should be, the ghost shark uses tooth plates instead to grind food.

Researchers still needed to catch one to confirm through DNA if the six they recorded were pointy-nosed blue ratfish or a completely new species of chimaera. The animal was spotted at a depth of 6,700 feet off the coast of California-a rare, fleeting glimpse that has generated a burst of research into the taxonomical background and geographic range of ghost sharks, including a MBARI-led paper published in the journal Marine Biodiversity Letters in October 2016.

Mr Ebert said it took some effort to identify this specimen, which was eventually deemed a pointy-nosed blue chimaera.

Still, Lundsten and others from the Monterey Bay Aquarium institute can't be 100 percent certain that the fish captured on video is a pointy-nosed blue chimaera, despite their similar physical characteristics.

When you hear the phrase "Ghost Shark" you might think that it's the title of a new horror film. The species is said to possess a large but slender body.

Relatives of sharks and rays, these deep-sea denizens split off from these other groups some 300 million years ago.

Doing so would either allow them to remove the "cf." from the species description - or lead to perhaps an even more exciting alternative: that they discovered a new species of ghost shark. "I thought, 'Here's my chance to name a fish for someone who's really interested.' It kind of looks like him, [but with] less facial hair".

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