Fishermen who went bottom trawling off the coast of Taiwan did not expect to find such a rare find. Instead of ordinary fish, they caught a “goblin shark,” which has become the subject of much attention from local scientists and museum workers.
This living fossil of the genus Mitsukurina owstoni originated 125 million years ago during the Cretaceous Period and is the only representative of its family. Usually these sharks have a grayish coloration, but specimens pulled from the depths can appear pinkish-purple if their blood vessels are damaged by fishing gear.
The photo shows a female “goblin shark” weighing about 800 pounds and carrying a brood of six cubs. Fishermen accidentally caught her during a bottom trawl as boats towed a weighted net across the ocean floor.
The shark is now under the patronage of the Taiwan Maritime Art Museum. Staff at the cultural institution note that the species has translucent skin, a pinkish body and sharp fangs. “The find belongs to the ancient shark family and is a very rare living fossil,” they say.
Interestingly, the fishermen who pulled the unusual monster from the depths originally planned to sell it to a restaurant. However, the local museum opposed the idea and purchased the shark as a “future source of marine education.
Goblin sharks continue to pique the interest of scientists and marine life enthusiasts. It was recently discovered that these sharks can glow in the dark thanks to a special type of bacteria that lives in their skin. This allows them to hunt in the depths of the ocean where light does not penetrate.
Thus, the goblin shark has become not only a rare living fossil, but also an object of scientific study. Its discovery in Taiwan underscores the importance of preserving marine biodiversity and continues to inspire the search for new discoveries in the world’s oceans.