Greenland sharks live for over 270 years

greenland shark on Wetpixel

Science reports on a new paper cataloging the longevity of Greenland sharks (Somniosus microcephalus). Danish scientists have used the presence of carbon 14 caused by the atom bomb testing on the 1960s to generate a growth curve and radiocarbon dating of eye lens nuclei from 28 female Greenland sharks to reveal that they have a life span of at least 272 years. It is conjectured that some individuals may be 400 years old.

Shark scientist, David Shiffman, notes: “Greenland sharks born during the U.S. Civil War may just now be going through puberty. Greenland sharks born during the U.S. Revolutionary War may still be alive. That is cuckoo-bananas.

(Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, 2013 Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition.)