The researchers write, 'Our results show that the Greenland shark is the longest-lived vertebrate known, and they raise concerns about species conservation'. The researchers worked with a sample of 28 female Greenland sharks, using radiocarbon dating on the sharks' eye tissue to glean their ages, with the stunning finding that one creature in particular could potentially be as old as 512.
Greenland sharks have the longest life expectancy of any vertebrate creature, so it is maybe obvious that the species would gloat the most seasoned living individual vertebrate too. The species, also known as a gurry shark or a grey shark, is restricted to the cold waters of the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans and surprisingly, until very recently, it was hard for scientists to understand their lifespan.
The enormous Greenland shark was found in the North Atlantic ocean by scientists who estimate it could have been around for 512 years. So, when the scientist discovered one astonishing 18 feet long Greenland shark, he knew it has to be exceptionally old.
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Nielsen has said that the most likely age of this shark is 390 years. These sharks have been known to feast on rotting polar bear carcass. They certainly don't make good meals - the Greenland Shark's flesh is packed with toxins and eating it is considered highly poisonous. Typically, to determine the age of fish, scientists study the growth bands in a calcified tissue located in the ear called the otolith, sort of like measuring the rings of a tree trunk to see how old it is.
According to official stats by the Greenland Shark and Elasmobranch Education and Research Group (GEERG), the sharks could be upto 7 meter long and almost 1200 kgs in weight.They are slow-moving fish, cruising at about 1 foot per second (0.3 meters/second), and reaching depths of 9,101 feet (2,774 m), GEERG reported. In order to estimate the age, they used a mathematical model that analyzed the lens and cornea of the shark.
In this case, two of the smallest sharks had a post-bomb pulse isotopic reading making them as 50 years or younger. However, researchers are now saying that the legendary shark might not be as old as previously estimated. For decades, however, the sharks eluded the dogged efforts of scientists to determine their age. But the recent research proves that the species could be even older.