One Greenland shark is believed to be around 500-years-old, still young, mind you.
Well, to be more specific, the said shark is estimated to be around 512-years-old, meaning there is a chance it was born in the 1500s. That makes it older than the majority of the world’s countries. The said unnamed shark was found swimming along the Arctic Ocean while jamming to his favorite Rennaissance music, just kidding, it doesn’t listen to music, but it probably was alive at the time Magellan proved that the world is not flat.
Now, regarding Greenland sharks, they generally have lifespans of over hundreds of years, much like some turtle and tortoise species. These sharks also grow at a rate of one centimeter per year and that was how scientists estimated the said shark’s age. The shark was measured at around 5.48 meters in length and weighed over a tonne. So if you do the math, the shark more or less around 500 years of age, making it the longest living vertebrae on the planet.
What on Earth would they be doing with that much time, you ask? Well, the said shark actually set up its own history school to disprove flat-Earthers and sell Da Vinci autographs… Jokes aside, they don’t do much, they spend hundreds of years of their lives just swimming around and looking for mates, something that humans only take about 20 years on average to do.
Some have said the shark is 512 years old, others like the BBC are pinning it at 400, and National Geographic claims the scientists found the shark at 272 years old.
The truth, no matter what story you want to believe — the latter seems more plausible — is that the Greenland Shark is the longest-lived vertebrate on the planet.
If you do a search around the internet, you’ll see plenty of stories growing from a 2016 National Geographic report on the Greenland Shark claiming the shark is 512 years old. It’s eye-grabbing and typical of the internet to stretch the truth a bit, but there is still plenty of truth in the story.
The Greenland shark is the oldest and it is officially confirmed. And the way scientists figure this out is quite amazing.
According to National Geographic, the Greenland and other sharks are a little difficult to date through the traditional methods:
Determining a bony fish’s age can be easily done by analyzing their otoliths, or ear stones. But sharks, which are made mostly of cartilage, lack this kind of hard, calcified tissue…
So scientists found another way to figure out the age of Greenland sharks: looking into their eyes.