The Ugliest Sharks That Ever Lived

Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Despite what you may think, shark attacks are actually very rare. In 2013, the U.S. saw a grand total of 53 unprovoked shark attacks, with only two of those reports resulting in a fatality. The truth is, most sharks swim nowhere near the shore, are not aggressive toward humans, and don't find us to be very tasty. So rather than focus on the dangerous element, instead let's focus on the only other factor that makes a shark a shark: it's ugliness.

5) Longnose Sawshark
Is that your nose, or did a bus park on your face?

-Flavio Ferrari / WikiMedia Commons

This shark's rostrum (beak) can reach up to 30% of its total body length, with sharp barbels running down the sides. It's probably best to think of this gratuitous schnoz more as a medieval weapon, rather than an advanced olfactory system. When hunting, this sawshark swipes its snout from side to side, to strike and stun its prey before eating it.

4) Cookiecutter Shark
You're so ugly, you have to Trick or Treat by phone.

These adorably named, small sharks (17"-22" length) manage to be somewhat cuddly-looking, but still unforgivably horrifying. This shark was not named for its baking skills, but rather for its unique bite mark. By suctioning their lips onto a victim, they are able to latch onto their prey's body and gauge out round plugs of flesh. The result is an awful, deep, circular-shaped wound, as if cut out with a cookie cutter.

CHYEA! THAT'S GONNA LEAVE A MARK!

-dolphincommproject / YouTube

3) Helicoprion
Braces won't fix this kind of ugly.

-Dmitry Bogdanov / WikiMedia Commons

This one is extinct, thankfully. As you can probably tell, this shark's mouth resembled that table saw you were terrified of using in shop class. While only fossils remain of this bonafide monster, scientists believe its "tooth-whorl" to be a long, spiraling set of teeth used to carve deep into its prey. As it ages, the spiral turns and new teeth arrive from the inner spirals. So, even as it gets "long in the tooth," it's just as terrifying with at least 89 teeth in full supply. Good riddance.

2) Frilled Shark
We recommend you "paper bag" that face up.

Rarely seen by humans, the first living specimen wasn't observed until 2004. Atypical of the shark species, the frilled shark tends to swallow its prey whole, using its small, needlelike teeth to trap its prey. The cat's tongue-like teeth are not used for biting, but preventing prey from escaping its awful maw. The frilled shark, or a relative, is thought to have inspired reports of sea serpents by Viking sailors due to its eel-like, demonic appearance. Ugh. Take it back.

1) Goblin Shark
You're so ugly, the tide wouldn't bring you in.

-Carl Moore / NOAA

The last living member of the 150 million year old Mitsukurinidae family, the Goblin Shark is sometimes called a "living fossil." Since it's not very fast, it is believed to be an ambush predator, and pursues its prey by just drifting toward it, slowly, as to not attract attention. Just when it gets close enough, it snatches up the prey with its protruding jaws. A relatively new discovery in marine science, this shark was named after its hideous face. In case you hadn't figured that out yet.



Of course, though, real beauty is on the inside, and these creatures are truly gorgeous.



Related Topics:
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