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Oldest Vertebrate Animal Discovered in Greenland Seas

Image credit: The Higher Learning [www.thehigherlearning.com]
Image credit: The Higher Learning [www.thehigherlearning.com]
Image credit: The Higher Learning [www.thehigherlearning.com]
Marine biologists have determined the age of a Greenland shark to be approximately four hundred years, making it the oldest-living vertebrate animal today.

Greenland sharks are a slow, cumbersome species of shark located in the North Sea. For years, scientists have expected them to live for many years, but it is only now that a more specific age has been suggested.

An investigation, led by an academic of the University of Copenhagen, examined the carcasses of Greenland sharks between 2010 and 2013. Applying radiocarbon dating to a tissue formed in its eye, the largest shark of a sample of twenty-eight specimens is understood to be between around two hundred and fifty to five hundred years old. An estimation that the shark was middle-aged would place it at an age of four hundred years.

The results of the investigation have been submitted and published in the journal Science.

Greenland sharks are carnivorous and have been known to consume eels and other sharks. The Greenland sharks occasionally eaten in Scandinavian countries. The flesh of the shark must be properly cooked to avoid dangerous side effects.