Greenland polar sharks living in the North Atlantic Ocean became record holders for longevity among vertebrates living on the planet. This conclusion was reached by modern scientists.
We are used to believing that the most long-living animal on Earth is man. True, there are rumors about the extraordinary duration of elephants and crows, but this is not true. But few people know about the real long-livers of the animal world, with the exception of those who were not too lazy to take an interest in this issue. And if among, for example, mollusks and sponges you can find those who, by our standards, are almost immortal, then among vertebrates the previous record belonged to the bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus). This long-liver of the deep sea lived at least 211 years. Other long-livers of the vertebral world are individual representatives of the sturgeon family, giant turtles, Atlantic large-headed and koi carps.The Greenland shark is the main vertebrate long-liver of the planet.
But now the record of the bowhead whale collapsed under the onslaught of his neighbor in the North Atlantic. It turned out to be a Greenland shark. Scientists from Denmark have found that these marine animals can live for 400 or even 500 years, as reported by the publication Science. The oldest Greenland shark that we managed to study is 392 years old with possible deviations up or down to 120 years.Now the bowhead whale has moved up to rank two among vertebrate centenarians.
The length of the Greenland shark can exceed 5 meters. They reach this size slowly - adding 0.5-1 cm each year in length. Unfortunately, so far there has not been an exact way to determine their age. However, scientists decided to resort to radiocarbon analysis of the lens of the eye of this animal. The fact is that the proteins in this part of the shark body are already formed at the embryo stage, remaining unchanged throughout the life of the animal.
As a result, it turned out that only the puberty of the Greenland shark reaches about 150 years. They survive at least 272 years, and can live incomparably longer. The reason for this longevity, presumably, is a very slow metabolism characteristic of cold-blooded animals living in waters whose temperature ranges from -1 to +5 degrees Celsius. As for the record of life expectancy among all living organisms in general, it belongs to the sea sponges, which can survive more than one millennium. For example, a sponge Monorhaphis chuni was discovered off the coast of Iceland, whose age is over eleven thousand years. As you can see, on the ancestral home of life - in water (and especially in cold water) - all the most important long-livers of the planet live. But on land, the giant turtle Jonathan, who was already 183 years old, was the record holder.The age of sharks and whales is nothing for sea sponges, one of which has lived for 11 thousand years."Temper if you want to be healthy!" - The high life expectancy of the Greenland sharks is supposedly associated with the low temperature of the environment in which they live.