A 500-year-old Greenland shark, which would have reached maturity at around 150 years, sets a new record for being the oldest living vertebrate
Scientists have made a startling discovery where they have found a shark whose age was estimated to be 512 years. Yes, a Greenland shark has been found in the Arctic region and could very well be the oldest living vertebrate on the planet. The research is published in the journal Science.
The researchers have measured the creature and estimated that it could be born as early as 1505. Known to live in temperature less than -1 degree Celcius, these creatures can swim as deep as 7,200 feet and weigh more than a tonne.
The discovery was detailed in a research study published in the journal Science. Marine biologist Julius Nielsen and his team used a technique to measure the amount of radiocarbon in the eye lenses of Greenland sharks, revealing the possible age of this senior animal.
“It definitely tells us that this creature is extraordinary and it should be considered among the absolute oldest animals in the world,” the biologist told.
According to reports, the shark measured 18ft in length. It is this length which reportedly can mean the shark can be anywhere between 272 to 512 years old, as this species grows at a rate of 1 cm a year.
It is the oldest among the 28 Greenland sharks that are analyzed. These sharks have an estimated lifespan of 400 years, and they spend their time swimming around looking for mates.
“Fish biologists have tried to determine the age and longevity of Greenland sharks for decades, but without success. Given that this shark is the apex predator (king of the food chain) in Arctic waters, it is almost unbelievable that we didn’t know whether the shark lives for 20 years, or for 1,000 years,” expert Steven Campana from the University of Iceland stated.
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You’re looking at an 11-foot Greenland shark, photographed in Arctic Bay, Baffin Island. Oddly enough, the Greenland shark wasn’t photographed live under water until 1995, partially due to the fact that they’ve been observed 2,200 meters deep. These guys are also quite slow, motoring along at an average speed of 0.76 mph. 🐋 Sharks are at risk due to habitat loss, bycatch (accidental catch in fishing gear) and a high demand for their fins. #SharkAwarenessDay 📷© National Geographic Stock / Nick Caloyianis / WWF
Researchers found that the eye lens proteins of the two smallest of the 28 Greenland sharks had the highest levels of carbon-14, suggesting that they were born after the early 1960s. The third smallest shark, however, had carbon-14 levels only slightly above those of the 25 larger sharks, hinting that it was actually born in the early 1960s.
It’s not totally clear why Greenland sharks live for so long. Scientists postulate that it may be in their genes, or it could be the fact that they live in relatively cold temperatures and have a slow metabolism.
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Greenland sharks are the longest-living vertebrates known on Earth. A team of scientists found that the sharks grow at just 1cm a year and reach sexual maturity at about the age of 150. The oldest recorded Greenland shark is said to be around 400 years old. photo by @paulnicklen – – – #oceanicwildlifeconservation #oceanicwildlife #saveourocean #nature #ocean #oceanlife #shark #sharks #helpsavesharks #saveoursharks #greenland #greenlandshark #greenlandsharkproject #arctic #norway #conservation #oceanconservation #marineconservation #marinelife #wildlifephotography #wildanimals #wildlife #oceanencounters #oldshark #vertebrate #funfact #climatechange #science
We might have no exact idea about the reason behind these mysterious creatures for their long lives, but what we can hope is that these vertebrates will boost conservation efforts to protect the species and its habitat. Now that we have found these majestic creatures, it is now up to us to preserve these animals for future generations.
“This is the longest living vertebrate on the planet.Together with colleagues in Denmark, Greenland, USA, and China, we are currently sequencing its whole nuclear genome which will help us discover why the Greenland shark not only lives longer than other shark species but other vertebrates,”marine biologist Julius Nielsen, said.
When the research scientist was asked how in the world this shark could possibly reach the age of over 500 years old, he guessed that the cold water combined with a slow metabolism would be responsible. He does admit right after, however, that further research is still needed and this explanation is just a theory.
“The answer likely has to do with a very slow metabolism and the cold waters that they inhabit. I’m just the messenger on this. I have no idea.”
Read the full article here https://animalchannel.co