"Prehistoric" Shark Seen Attacking Deep Bait

Scientists have filmed deep-sea creatures for the first time at depths of more than 4,500 feet near Australia's coast, including the deep-dwelling sixgill shark biting on bait. Video.

A sixgill shark—a species often referred to as prehistoric because of its resemblance to sharks living hundreds of millions of years ago—is seen biting on bait at a camera trap deep off Australia. It's part of a project to learn more about deep-sea creatures and possible correlations with human sight and brain development.

© 2010 National Geographic; Video: Justin Marshall, Queensland Brain Institute



Scientists, using a deep sea camera ‘trap,’ captured some remarkable video of a shark biting down on what it thinks is prey.

This six-gill shark in the waters of the Osprey Reef near Australia’s northeast coast, senses what it thinks is a meal.

But scientists from the Queensland Brain Institute have set out a fish head as bait, with a remote-control camera.

The shark tries its best to dislodge the bait, and struggles, but is unable to break it away from its anchor, some 46-hundred feet below the surface of the Coral Sea.

This video capture was part of the Deep Australia Project, an effort to discover the evolutionary origins of human sight.

The six gill is often referred to as “prehistoric” because of its resemblance to sharks that lived hundreds of millions of years ago.

It’s interesting to researchers because of its night vision, and ability to overcome both crushing depths and freezing and deep, dark waters.

The sixgills reach up to 13 feet in length, and this is just one of several deep-sea species never before filmed at these depths.

This false catshark, another deep sea dweller, passes by, but chooses not to attempt any biting of the bait.

This eel, on the other hand, thinks it too, has found dinner, and is persistent in its attempts to bite off some food.

Researchers also photographed the Nautilus, a relative of squid or octopus that still lives in a shell, as they have for millions of years.

Project leader Justin Marshall says peering into their eyes, that have no iris, could help us understand more about the human brain.

Deep sea creatures are a logical specimen to study for human brain understanding, as Marshall says most of our knowledge on how nerve cells function and communicate was first pioneered through work on giant squid nerve cells.