Is it really possible that there exists a 400-year-old animal of any sort? Especially, a shark?
Before we dive into the mysterious world of extremely old animals, let’s take a quick poll…
Apparently so. It was confirmed a number of years ago that a 400-year-old Greenland shark was the oldest vertebrate animal on the planet known to man. And the answer to our poll question (drum roll, please) the oldest living animal overall was an Icelandic clam that lived to 507.
But that was a clam. This is a shark!
400-year-old shark found in the Arctic could be the oldest living vertebrate https://t.co/aRn2b76Xsn
— Handy Globetrotter (@FeMaryenne) October 23, 2018
Think about everything this old girl has been through? “This shark was born during a period of time marked by the reign of King James I, was a young shark when the era of colonialism was reaching a peak of intensity in the 1600’s, and was considered an adolescent shark as King George II became a ruler,” observed Anon News.
“Around the time the American Revolution occurred in the 1770’s, this particular shark would have been an adult, and it continued to live throughout both world wars.”
It’s hard to fathom that this creature has been around since long before the United States became a country, and certainly long before man had the technology to learn of its age and appreciate it the way we do today.
Greenland sharks have always been thought to have extended lives, but no one really knew how long until now.
No one thought they could live up to 400 years.
“Fish biologists have tried to determine the age and longevity of Greenland sharks for decades, but without success,’ said shark expert from the University of Iceland, Steven Campana” reported Anon News. “Given that this shark is the apex predator (king of the food chain) in Arctic waters, it is almost unbelievable that we didn’t know whether the shark lives for 20 years, or for 1000 years.”
“The Greenland shark is one of the largest carnivores in the world, without a doubt. It’s grey and fat, with a reported growth rate of just less than one centimeter a year,” Anon News notes.
It’s such an amazing discovery.
The shark’s mere existence also begs the question – what else is in our ever-mysterious ocean that we don’t know about?