Thursday, August 25, 2016

Article #3

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.

Anyways, I really like sharks so I really liked this article. Sharks are cool, and now I know that some of them are also extremely old.


  1. Hey Naomi, I hope your summer is going well! You're right, I totally think everyone gives sharks such a bad reputation. It's about time we see some shark activists like yourself come along and defend them. I never realized they had the ability to live so long! I think it was cool that you actually looked into all of your questions to find the answers on your own instead of just asking them and never looking into them, which I saw a lot of people do (myself included, oops). It shows a genuine curiosity in what we're being taught, so like good for you man. See you in a few days!

  2. Hey! Sharks are totally really cool!!! Its true that they get a bad rap. I found something that I thought you'd like when researching them. So, people think that this shark is actually Nessie from the Loch Ness, and that this is why people see Nessie.
    I thought you'd like the weird conspiracy. :-P

  3. I think everyone here agrees that sharks are really cool. I feel a little bad for Harriet though. Turtles are so McFreaking cute. Anyway, the carbon dating thing is the best we can do but it certainly doesn't give us the best answers. It gives us a range of years when the sharks' eyes could've been formed, so we can't pinpoint an exact date, and we'll have to deal with the sort of lame guessing game we're playing until a better technique comes along. Also I'd like to put it out there that I've pet a shark, so be jealous. She was pregnant and beautiful. See you in a few days!