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Friday, August 12, 2016

500-year-old sharks?

From Science magazine:
The Greenland shark (Somniosus microcephalus), an iconic species of the Arctic Seas, grows slowly and reaches >500 centimeters (cm) in total length, suggesting a life span well beyond those of other vertebrates. Radiocarbon dating of eye lens nuclei from 28 female Greenland sharks (81 to 502 cm in total length) revealed a life span of at least 272 years. Only the smallest sharks (220 cm or less) showed signs of the radiocarbon bomb pulse, a time marker of the early 1960s. The age ranges of prebomb sharks (reported as midpoint and extent of the 95.4% probability range) revealed the age at sexual maturity to be at least 156 ± 22 years, and the largest animal (502 cm) to be 392 ± 120 years old. Our results show that the Greenland shark is the longest-lived vertebrate known, and they raise concerns about species conservation.
Either someone screwed up on the radiocarbon dating, or scientists just discovered a key to longevity.


  1. That old shark probably knew Shakespeare. Met him when Will was researching The Tempest.

  2. "Somniosus microcephalus?" A sleepy little head? What kind of name is that for a shark? - Elric

  3. A dopey little ice princess of a shark. Remind you of any Presidential candidates we know?

  4. 500 cm is about 16.4 feet in the *real* system of measure.

    1. "Real", huh? Plus it bugs the French. So it's the system of measure that just keeps on giving.

  5. 500 year old shark. Why did I immediately think of Soros?

    Steve in Greensboro

  6. Life is too long in Barack's America, that's why suicide rate is increasing.
    Don't tell the whales about Obama, last they heard we were gaining independence.