An ancient shark, believed to be 512 years old, was recently discovered in the North Atlantic Ocean by a group of scientists. This makes it the oldest living vertebrate in the world, surpassing the previously recorded 400-year lifespan of some Greenland sharks.
The discovery was made using a new age determination method based on measuring radiocarbon in the shark’s eye lenses. The results of the research, which was published in the journal Science, reveal that Greenland sharks can live much longer than previously thought.
he previous method of determining a shark’s age was based on its size, with sharks from the same species, Somniosidae, growing approximately 0.4 inches per year. This method was unreliable, especially for mature sharks. The new findings have added much-needed accuracy to the field.
The scientists behind the study hope to uncover the reason for the shark’s long life, which they believe may be linked to its slow metabolism and the cold water of the Arctic. The whole nuclear genome of the Greenland shark is currently being sequenced, with the goal of discovering the genes responsible for its longevity and the link with life expectancy in other species.
Despite the Greenland shark’s long life, its migration patterns and reproductive habits are still somewhat of a mystery. However, genetic results from various sharks studied suggest they may all have originated from the same place and migrated over time.
The scientists are eager to find out why the Greenland shark lives so much longer than other vertebrates and to uncover the secrets behind its remarkable longevity.