The rare two-metre long frilled shark – which resembles an eel and is named after its six pairs of frill-like gills – can boast ancestry dating back around 80 million years.

Also known as the “living fossil”, the shark was caught in waters near Lakes Entrance, in south-eastern Victoria, and is among only a handful of specimens seen in living memory.

Simon Boag, from the South East Trawl Fishing Association, said the trawlermen had been mystified by their surprise catch.

“We couldn’t find a fisherman who had ever seen one before,” he told ABC. “It does look 80 million years old. It looks like it’s prehistoric – it looks like it’s from another time.”

The frilled shark eats fish and squid and normally swims at depths of around 1500m – although this one was found only 700m below the surface. The fish has long, flexible jaws designed to swallow its prey whole.

“It has 300 teeth over 25 rows, so once you’re in that mouth you’re not coming out,” said Mr Boag. “Good for dentists, but it is a freaky thing. I don’t think you would want to show it to little children before they went to bed.”

I’m not sure we’ll be sleeping too well either…