Absurd Creature of the Week: Elusive Goblin Shark Has World’s Most Terrifying Jaws

Posted: October 22, 2013  |  By: Matt Simon [Wired]

In the movie Labyrinth, David Bowie stars as Jareth the Goblin King, stealing babies and casually punting his subjects during musical numbers. He doesn’t look anything like you’d expect a goblin to because he’s actually a fairy of sorts, which get to have better hair and accessorize more with tiaras and stuff. This of course makes Bowie a pretender to the throne.

But in the deep seas around the world swims a true goblin king with no interest in righteous hairstyles: the mysterious goblin shark, whose spring-loaded jaws are surely the animal kingdom’s most incredible chompers. Freaky freaky, as Bowie might say.

First described in 1898, the goblin shark had already been known to Japanese fishermen, who called it tengu-zame, tengu being a mythical goblin with an extremely long nose that looked a bit like Pinocchio, except like Jareth it kidnapped children instead of teaching them not to lie. The shark, which grows up to 12.5 feet long, swims at depths of over 4,000 feet and remains poorly understood, though with each new specimen we’re building a better picture of its incredible adaptations to the deep-sea lifestyle.

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