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Scientists Discover 400-Year-Old Greenland Shark Likely Born Around 1620

Image credit: Dive Magazine

Scientists used radio interviews to determine the age of 28 animals, including a female estimated to be 400 years old.

Scientists have found that sharks grow at a rate of 1 cm per year and reach sexual maturity at the age of 150 years.

Original author Julius Nielsen, a marine biologist at the University of Copenhagen, said: "We thought we were dealing with a strange animal, but I think everyone is surprised that sharks are as old as they are."

The former vertebrate clerk was a bowhead whale, about 211 years old.

However, if the animals do not participate in the longevity race, the 507-year-old clam, Ming, will hold the title of oldest animal.

The Greenland shark is a large beast that can grow up to 5 meters tall.

In some fish, scientists can examine ears called otoliths. When cut, the bones found a pattern of concentric rings that scientists could count as rings on the tree.

Sharks are tougher, but some species, like the Great White, have calcified tissue growing in the layers of their vertebrae, which can be used on older animals.

"But the Greenland shark is a very, very gentle shark. There is no hard physical growth layer. So I think the age can't be verified," Nielsen told the BBC.

However, the group found a clever way to count the ages.

Greenland shark eye lenses are made from special materials and are low in protein,” says Neilson.

"This means that once the protein is synthesized in the body, it is no longer regenerated. So we can separate the tissue formed when the shark was a baby and the radiocarbon during the day."

The group spotted 28 sharks, most of them dead in fishing nets. Using this technique, they claim that the largest shark (a 5m long female) is very old.

Since the radiocarbon conversations don't give an actual age, I think he might be "young" around 272, or possibly 512. But it looks like middle ground, so it's 400 years old.

This means he was born between 1501 and 1744, but his most likely birthday was in the 17th century.

Nielsen said "although the lowest point of uncertainty, 272, is the highest age, he should still be considered the longest living person," Nielsen said. In other words, if he ages at the top of the ladder, he will survive the Ming Clam. Even though his age is likely to be in the middle.

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