Near Blind Sharp is World’s Longest Lived Vertebrate
I’ve thought for a long time that sharks are awesome, and this article just adds another reason to the list why. I feel like sharks have a really bad reputation, so any news story I see about sharks that doesn’t involve people dying makes me happy. Also, the idea of three hundred year old blind sharks swimming around Greenland is a really nice one for some reason.
I’m curious about the actual techniques that were used to get the age of the shark. In the article it said that the fibers in the eye were tested for the level of radioactive carbon, and I assume that the carbon was carbon-dated, but I never knew exactly how that worked and I’d like to learn more about it. I remember talking about carbon dating in biology vaguely, but the only specific I can remember is that you can’t get an exact year out of it.
Before reading this article I thought that that old sea turtle in the Galapagos was the oldest vertebrate. From doing some quick research, it turns out that that turtle (tortoise, actually) was named Harriet and was only 175. Turns out that the sharks beat the turtles yet again.
Another question I had was what type of shark this was, but it turns out that “Greenland shark” is a type of shark. Easy answers. I also thought that it was strange that because they were large and lived in cold water, they used less energy. It seems like it would take more energy to keep a large body warm in the cold, but it’s interesting that it works in reverse. When you think about it, it makes sense, but at first glance it seems counter intuitive.
It’s unfortunate that because of hunters and other dangers (commercial fishing, climate change, etc.) these sharks may die off. Very few sharks are dangerous to humans, but because of their bad reputation most people don’t care very much about stopping shark hunting, when it’s a huge problem that deserves more attention. I like that this article addresses this problem.