Granddaddy of Sharks May Live to 400
It’s entirely possible that a very old shark native to Arctic waters was alive and swimming soon after the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock. Using carbon dating techniques usually reserved for archaeology, researchers now estimate that a large Greenland shark was up to 392 years of age when it died — the longest lifespan of any vertebrate on Earth. At the lower end of lifespan estimates, the shark might be 272 years of age — still a record, according to a team led by Julius Nielsen, a Ph.D. student in biology at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. Decades ago, it was discovered that Greenland sharks — one of the largest sharks in the world at an average of 16 feet — grow just a few centimeters over several years. That led scientists to wonder how long they lived, but that question went unanswered because traditional ways of determining the age of fish can’t be used with Greenland sharks. In a new study, marine biologists used carbon-14 dating of Greenland shark eye lenses to determine how long they live. This type of dating technology is typically used in archeology to gauge the age of artifacts from the distant past.
Source/more: Health Day
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