Greenland shark

A newly discovered Greenland shark is believed to be the oldest living vertebrae on the planet. It is projected to have been born in the early 1500s, which means it may have been swimming around the deep waters of the North Atlantic since the reign of Henry VII. If this is accurate, the shark was born just 13 years after Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue!

Greenland sharks only grow about a centimeter each year. That is how scientists have estimated the age of this creature. The shark in question is 18 feet long, meaning that it is between 272 and 512 years of age. It is the oldest of 28 Greenland sharks the scientists were studying to learn more about this unknown being.

These sharks can live hundreds of years, so scientists are studying their DNA to see what might give them such longevity. Professor Kim Praebel, who leads the study, said these Greenland sharks were “living time capsules” that can also give us a window into changes in the ocean. Many of the sharks the scientists studied predate the Industrial Revolution.

“This is the longest living vertebrate on the planet,” Marine biologist Julius Nielsen said. “Together with colleagues in Denmark, Greenland, USA, and China, we are currently sequencing its whole nuclear genome which will help us discover why the Greenland shark not only lives longer than other shark species but other vertebrates.”

“Since the Greenland shark lives for hundreds of years, they also have enough time to migrate over long distances and our genetic results showed exactly that,” Praebel stated. “Most of the individuals in our study were genetically similar to individuals caught thousands of kilometers away.”

To learn more about Greenland sharks, check out the video below:

Remains of a polar bear were extracted from a Greenland shark earlier this year. Scientists don’t think that this deep-sea shark hunted the bear. Instead, scientists believe the shark discovered the bear’s carcass in the water.

Share this story if you think there are more Greenland sharks this old lurking beneath the surface! 

Souce: IB Times

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