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A Greenland Shark Found That Could Potentially Be Up to 512 Years Old!

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Although most people have a fear of sharks, they are actually extraordinarily amazing animals. More specifically, the Greenland Shark, also known as the gurry shark, is a large shark of the family of Somiosidae, or sleeping shark and are known to be the oldest living vertebrates in the entire world!

Recently a Greenland Shark was caught in a fishing net and killed. Although the death of the shark is unfortunate, researchers were able to calculate its age, and it is believed to have potentially been 512 years old! This would mean that the shark lived through the time of Shakespeare, the English Civil War, and the Industrial Revolution!  In order to determine the shark’s age researchers used its length, which is 18 feet, and radiocarbon dating to measure the carbon isotopes absorbed by the shark’s eye tissue. By doing these things, they were able to come to the conclusion that the shark’s age could range anywhere from 272- 512 years old.

So, how can it be possible for anything to live to be 512 years old? Here’s some background on  Greenland Sharks. They are native to the Arctic and North Atlantic Oceans. The typical size of a Greenland Shark is typically about twenty-four feet in length, weighing 2,645 pounds. Although most sharks typically have long lifespans, the Greenland Shark can outlive all the other types of sharks with an average lifespan of about 400 years. However, they have extremely prolonged “childhoods” and they don’t gain sexual maturity until around the age of 156 years old. That being said, they cannot reproduce until they are over 100 years old. Greenland sharks make human lives seem short!

Although little is known about them, researchers are starting to learn more about these amazing creatures and protecting them from potential harm or even extinction. Unfortunately, they are at risk for some devastating things such as that they often get caught in fishing nets, they have varied diets, which could lead them to eat waste that isn’t a part of their typical diet, and they will be likely affected by climate change. As of now, WWF is supporting and participating in research led by the University of Windsor to monitor them with high hopes of finding more amazing facts and useful information regarding the sharks such as where they live, hunt for prey, and how many young they conceive when they hit maturity. With the help of these researchers, hopefully more information will be learned about the Greenland Sharks.

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5 Comments

5 Responses to “A Greenland Shark Found That Could Potentially Be Up to 512 Years Old!”

  1. Olivia Salyers on January 5th, 2018 9:26 am

    I had no idea that these animals even existed. When I thought about how old that shark could be, I though of how awesome it is that a single animal lived through so much history. Great article!

    [Reply]

  2. Holly Widner on January 5th, 2018 12:48 pm

    It’s insane to think that there are sharks that are 5 centuries old! I like how you brought out the fact that they lived through the Shakespearean time and the English Civil War. Great article!

    [Reply]

  3. Mack Appleton on January 5th, 2018 8:26 pm

    I liked how you included how the shark had lived through all kinds of different historical events. I have heard about these sharks before and find them very interesting animals. I am glad that you put this article on the Courier so that other people at our school could learn about them.

    [Reply]

  4. Zach Fields on January 9th, 2018 1:04 pm

    Great article! I never realized that their are living animals on Earth that are that old. I like the way you compared the sharks age to major events in history.

    [Reply]

  5. Hannah Young on January 9th, 2018 2:35 pm

    Great article Lexi! It’s crazy how this shark could be up to 500 years old and weigh over 2,000 pounds! Thanks for sharing such interesting information.

    [Reply]

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Lewis Cass High School, Walton, Indiana,
A Greenland Shark Found That Could Potentially Be Up to 512 Years Old!