Monday, March 1, 2021
Contact us    |    Advertise    |   Help    |   Cookie Policy    |   Privacy Policy    RSS icon Twitter icon Facebook icon
    Home  ·  News  ·  Forum  ·  Stories  ·  Image Gallery  ·  Columns  ·  Encyclopedia  ·  Videos
Find: in

Atom bombs offer clues to age of whale sharks


Posted on Sunday, 12 April, 2020 | Comment icon 2 comments

Whale sharks can potentially live for over 100 years. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 4.0 Abe Khao Lak
Scientists have found a way to determine how old whale sharks are using the fallout from atomic bomb testing.
Measuring up to 62ft in length, these giants of the deep are regarded to be the largest living fish on Earth as well as the largest living nonmammalian vertebrate.

Given their slow rate of growth and extensive lifespan however, determining exactly how long whale sharks live for has long proven a challenge, but now scientists studying these gentle giants have found a way to effectively date a whale shark by measuring the amount of carbon-14 in its vertebrae.

This naturally occurring radioactive element is also produced by nuclear explosions, meaning that by comparing the sharks' carbon-14 levels with data regarding atomic bomb testing in the 1950s and 1960s, it was possible to come up with a way to determine the age of any given individual.
"These elevated levels of carbon-14 first saturated the atmosphere, then oceans and moved through food webs into animals, producing elevated levels in structures such as the vertebrae of whale sharks," said lead study author Joyce Ong of Rutgers University in New Jersey.

By applying this technique to the remains of several long-dead whale sharks, the researchers found one shark that was 50 years old, however it is likely that they can live much longer than that.

"We still can't say for certain if these sharks live to be 100 years old," said study co-author Mark Meekan from the Australian Institute of Marine Science in Perth.

"But it now seems much more likely given that our largest shark was 50 years old at 10 meters (33 feet) in length and it is well documented that these sharks can get almost double this size, to around 18 meters (59 feet) in length."

Source: Reuters | Comments (2)


Tags: Whale Shark, Atomic, Nuclear


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by zygote on 6 April, 2020, 12:42
The Greenland shark eh? Incredible creatures. I was reading they can have a potential lifespan of up to 500 years. 500 years!! 
Comment icon #2 Posted by Aardvark-DK on 14 April, 2020, 5:21
Was about to mention the Greenland shark aswell. it is has such a slow metabolism, that it should be able to live for hundreds of years...


Please Login or Register to post a comment.


  On the forums
Forum posts:
Forum topics:
Members:

6865639
286280
187858

 
 Extraterrestrial Life & The UFO Phenomenon
  2021 UFO Disclosure
  UFO close encounter over New Mexico
  Mystery signal coming from Proxima Centauri
 Ancient Mysteries & Alternative History
  There was no advanced ancient civilization
  Astrotheology
  Doggerland
AI learns how to play old platform games
2-28-2021
New computer algorithms designed to beat old 80s platformers could help robots navigate your home.
Woman captures 'small humanoid' on camera
2-28-2021
Mellisa Braham had been out walking her dog last week when she photographed something very strange.
Wild sheep with 78-pound coat is finally shorn
2-27-2021
A very overgrown sheep named Baarack has been rescued after being found by a member of the public.
Gargantuan moth is larger than woman's hand
2-27-2021
A woman in Australia recently captured photographs of a moth so huge that it exceeded the size of her hand.
Stories & Experiences
The voice of something not human
11-17-2020 | Baldwin Hills, Los Angeles
 
Shadow figure demon ?
11-14-2020 | USA
 
Ghost following me
9-18-2020 | Iowa
 
Mysterious glowing cube
8-23-2020 | Alabama
 
Black blob in my room/bed
7-23-2020 | Powell,TN U.S.
 
Transparent levitating ball
7-14-2020 | Santa Rosa, California
 
 
 
Grim reaper-like visitation
6-16-2020 | Canada
 
My monster catfish story
6-15-2020 | Dallas texas
 

         More stories | Send us your story
 
Top   |  Home   |   Forum   |   News   |   Image Gallery   |  Columns   |   Encyclopedia   |   Videos   |   Polls
UM-X 10.712 Unexplained-Mysteries.com (c) 2001-2021
Terms   |   Privacy Policy   |   Cookies   |   Advertise   |   Contact   |   Help/FAQ