Grandma Sharkie: The Greenland Shark is the World’s Oldest Vertebrate Animal!

Growth is a universal facet of all organisms that have ever lived, but figuring out how old they grow isn’t always easy. A new study examined the growth in one of the biggest predatory fish in all the ocean, the Greenland Shark (Somniosus microcephalus), revealing it to be the vertebrate species with the longest lifespan: nearly 400 years, if not more! Just goes to show that you don’t always need fossils to learn about natural history. Check it out in the latest episode of Past Time!

Greenland Sharks are slow-moving predators. They seem to capture seals and other prey items while they are resting.
Greenland Sharks are slow-moving predators. They seem to capture seals and other prey items while they are resting.

 

FURTHER READING:

Read about the original study at: http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/08/greenland-shark-may-live-400-years-smashing-longevity-record

More studies on growth in marine animals use bomb radiocarbon, too, including this study of the Great White.

The study linked here was the first to use this method on the age of living sharks.

For some awesome pictures of the Greenland Shark in nature, check out ARKIVE.org.

 

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