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Greenland shark thought to be 512 years old


Posted on Thursday, 14 December, 2017 | Comment icon 10 comments

Greenland sharks can live for centuries. Image Credit: NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program
Marine biologists have identified what could potentially be the world's oldest living vertebrate.
One of the world's largest extant shark species, the Greenland shark, which as its name suggests can be found in the waters of the North Atlantic, recently earned itself a place in the record books after researchers discovered that it is actually one of the world's longest-lived animals.

Now a team of researchers who have been studying these sharks have identified an individual that is believed to be as much as 512 years old, making it a contender for the world's oldest vertebrate.

If accurate, this means that it was born in the year 1505, making it even older than Shakespeare.

"It definitely tells us that this creature is extraordinary and it should be considered among the absolute oldest animals in the world," said marine biologist Julius Nielsen.

In exactly 1 hr and 7 minutes a satellite tag will pop-off from this Greenland shark female, it will float to the surface and establish contact with an Argos satellite. It will then transmit information on position as well as occupied temperatures the past 3 months. By tomorrow morning I will hopefully have the data which just can make it into my PhD before ending in four weeks. All of this (except handing in PhD in four weeks) will however only happen IF 1) the shark is not under sea ice (which would inhibit satellite transmission), 2) the sea is not too rough where the shark is which could lead to that the tag cap can’t be exposed properly in the air or 3) that the shark has not been deeper than 2,000 m which would have crushed the tag and destroyd it.... it also requires that there is no annoying animal eating the tag before we get the data which happened to us on a previous deployment. FINGERS CROSSED🤞🏻#greenlandsharkproject Photo credit: Takuji Noda 📸

A post shared by Julius Nielsen (@juniel85) on



Source: IB Times | Comments (10)

Tags: Greenland, Shark

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Sir Smoke aLot on 14 December, 2017, 11:53
From Instagram post : '' it also requires that there is no annoying animal eating the tag before we get the data which happened to us on a previous deployment. ''
Comment icon #2 Posted by _KB_ on 14 December, 2017, 13:21
well technically all animals can live about 8 cycles under ideal circumstances so humans could be living 350 years, it's just highly unlikely that a creature would never get sick or hurt too badly and maintained a healthy life style, bound to happen every so often no?
Comment icon #3 Posted by paperdyer on 14 December, 2017, 18:33
She didn't look too aggressive considering a person was near.  Maybe she's just gotten to the point that chasing us isn't worth it.  Now if we go in the water, all bets are off, or isn't this shark a carnivore?
Comment icon #4 Posted by Mr.United_Nations on 14 December, 2017, 19:37
Greenland sharks are slow movers and eat we presume is carcasses.  Please don' assume all sharks are many eaters
Comment icon #5 Posted by paperdyer on 14 December, 2017, 19:58
I'm not as I know they aren't.  As with snakes, as I'm not 100% sure of what all the poisonous ones look like, I treat them all as poisonous and steer clear.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Black Monk on 16 December, 2017, 12:07
They aren't aggressive to humans. No cases of Greenland shark predation on humans have ever been recorded.
Comment icon #7 Posted by Black Monk on 16 December, 2017, 12:08
The Greenland shark has the longest known lifespan of all vertebrate species.[20] One Greenland shark was tagged off Greenland in 1936 and recaptured in 1952. Its measurements suggest that Greenland sharks grow at a rate of 0.5–1 cm (0.2–0.4 in) per year.[21] In 2016, a study based on 28 specimens that ranged from 81 to 502 cm (2.7–16.5 ft) in length determined by radiocarbon dating of crystals within the lens of their eyes, that the oldest of the animals that they sampled, which also was the largest, had lived for 392 ± 120 years. The authors further concluded that the species reaches sexual ... [More]
Comment icon #8 Posted by _KB_ on 16 December, 2017, 23:05
You missed my point, it wasn't about any one species in general but just about the animal kingdom and how a lot of species could live that long or longer (under perfect circumstances... which is pretty rare)
Comment icon #9 Posted by oldrover on 19 December, 2017, 21:47
Apparently it's only 392. Nipper.
Comment icon #10 Posted by Aardvark-DK on 20 December, 2017, 9:31
Fascinating.  Yes it has slow movement, and a slow biology. A bit like landbased turtles, which can reach a very high age. Sounds plausibly...  


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