Rare And Prehistoric-Looking Goblin Shark Caught By Fishermen In The Gulf Of Mexico

Living 1,000 to 3,000 feet underwater, goblin sharks are among the most elusive creatures in the ocean. So it was quite a surprise when one was caught by fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico last month. Carl Moore of Townsend, Georgia and company were in disbelief when the goblin shark spilled out of their trawling net which they expected to contain only royal red shrimp.

Moore estimated the rare shark to measure between 18 and 20 feet long. However, shark expert John Carlson who works as a research biologist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration guessed that the shark may have been closer to 15 feet. Moore took photos of the shark which he then provided to the NOAA. Moore also released the shark back into the ocean.

Here are a few bits of facts about goblin sharks:
1) They also often referred to as "living fossils". They are the only extant representatives of the family Mitsukurinidae which traces a lineage that goes back up to 125 million years.
2) Their diet includes rattails, dragonfishes, cephalopods, crustaceans, decapods, isopods, blackbelly rosefishes and squids.
3) Very little is known about their reproduction process because a pregnant female has never been found and studied.

Here's one of the photos Moore took of the goblin shark he accidentally caught:
Photograph by Carl Moore