[News] Rare Goblin Shark Discovery in Australian Waters


TONMO Supporter
Nov 19, 2002

According to the article this is only the fifth specimen from the region.

Photos of the same specimen but from a different article attached:


Hello Phil,

Whoa, thanks a ton for posting that. Good old Mitsukurina. I always did like that shark, and that's a damn big one.

Not long ago, someone smart informed me that the "characteristic" protruding upper jaw of the goblin shark was a post-mortem distortion, and they really don't swim around with an embarassing overbite. The Australian Museum has a photo of a Japanese goblin shark with the upper jaw retracted. A very interesting brief on Mitsukurina by R. Aidan Martin can be found over at Elasmo-Research. Of particular interest is speculation about the shark's hunting methods, which make it sound rather Architeuthis-like.

Hot find, Phil, thanks again.


Its one of those things you only see in books and dont ever manage to put a size to it... much bigger than i had thought!!!

any chance you could move this to the general forum? I think a lot of members would dig it!!!!
Thanks for the links, Clem. Very interesting reading.I must admit, the animal was larger than I had imagined it to be too, though I have done a little research and it seems they grow up to just under 4m...these days. Apparantly this animal is so poorly known that there are only 50 or so carcasses that have been studied to date.

awesome!! what a catch. very prehistoric-looking.

There's a very good reason for that, Tony. The shark IS prehistoric! Teeth of a virtually identical shark called Scapanorhynchus are known from Cretaceous deposits over 120 million years old, this shark seems to have had a worldwide distribution. Teeth have been found from the Niobrara sea, so perhaps, just possibly, the animal may have met our old friend Tusoteuthis! It was, of course, also larger and I've found estimates of 5.5m or larger.

Here's a nice artists impression of Scapanorhynchus, and an amazing photo of Mitsukurina from the files at home.


.... between the lines (this really was shocking journalism by the way!!):

Just off the West Coast -- where the shark was caught -- are deep sea canyons. The area, which the [sic] CSIRO is studying, is critical habitat for commercial fish and sharks.

I wonder what 'critical habitat' means. I've a sneaking suspicion that this area is quite unique, subject to little historical bottom-trawl activity, only recently being exploited (explaining the recent find of something quite spectacular). Prediction time (1); if this is a new fishing ground then you might well hear of a few more of these things coming up over the next year. I hope I'm wrong! Prediction (2): the area is being considered for MPA designation (Australians lead the world when it comes to MPA's).

"It is the fantastic co-operation and awareness of local fisherman that make this sort of discovery possible," Mr Daley said.

Guilded lilly!

Phil, great find indeed; your pic, is that a live one or museum display? Stunning stuff!! Looks like the specimen on the pickup is in 2 pieces (you see the fin/tail in the ice on the ground ... sad).
Steve O'Shea said:
....your pic, is that a live one or museum display?


It's a dead specimen. The animal was freshly trawled from a location off Japan but I have not yet been able to track down the precise date or location yet of the capture. The shark has been photographed on its side, the artist has then digitally altered the image adding in the black background as you can see from the original image.

In 1976 another Goblin was photographed live off Japan but its mouth was not extended as with this specimen and looked a lot less bizarre. It seems that the mouth extended in this manner may not be the animal 'at rest' but extending to a bite posture. Perhaps this is why Goblins caught in trawl nets are apparantly found with jaws extended in this manner.

Please, please, no-one duplicate these two images . They are copyrighted images and we don't want to get into trouble.



I'd love to know what the 'spectacular specimen' Steve mentions is!
tastes like chicken, doesn't it???? :lol:
Once again, great pics and great info...Phil and Clem, we are : :notworth:
Ok, per Greg's request, this is now in the Octopus' Den. So for the rest of you, here's a taste of what you can see when you subscribe to TONMO.com... :wink: :heee:
much as I hate to belittle the scientific content of this topic, I'd like to make people aware that you cannot make morning "auto tea" with a Goblin shark :roll:
Sorry but some people don't realise coffee is served hot & get hurt, imaging waking up bleary eyed & trying to take a sip of one of these !
It's not funny Phil :x

Also, if it is a Goblin shark, why is it so bl**dy big ?
Gollum is small & grey, this is grey & 'normous !
No wonder science is going down the pan :grad: :madsci: no sense of scale.
Spartacus:No one has more "leaps of faith and imagination" than you and George Bush...now, we are waiting for the " Shock and awe..."
More details on the recently discovered specimen are available here. It transpires that the Goblin was a female that had recently given birth.
cthulhu77 said:
Spartacus:No one has more "leaps of faith and imagination" than you and George Bush...now, we are waiting for the " Shock and awe..."

Do you not mean 'Shark and awe...' ??????? 8)

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