The longest living animals on Earth.
Greenland sharks, which live an average of at least 272 years, are among the longest-lived vertebrates on Earth, a new study indicates; They can live more than 400 years.
The joys of a long life are surely innumerable, but there is one small drawback: these sharks do not reach sexual maturity until about 150 years of age. These natives of the North Atlantic Ocean can grow to be 21 feet long and weigh 2,000 pounds. Blind due to the numerous parasites that accumulate in their eyes, these sharks are said to have an impeccable sense of smell, which they use extensively when hunting.
Swim aside, Greenland whales: Greenland sharks have stolen the crown as Earth’s longest-living vertebrate. Researchers at the University of Copenhagen estimated that these sharks live at least 400 years, nearly two centuries longer than whales.
Student work at the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources inspired Julius Nielsen, lead author of the new study, to investigate the Greenland shark, which roams the cold waters of the North Atlantic. “I encountered sharks here for the first time and was fascinated that so little was known about such large sharks,” Nielsen said.
They are the largest fish native to arctic seas; adults typically measure between 13 and 16 feet and females consistently outnumber males.