The Longest-Lived Animal

The Longest-Lived Animal

According to a study in 2016, the Greenland shark is the longest-lived vertebrate on the planet and can live up to 500 years.

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The animal, native to the cold, deep waters of the North Atlantic, can live to at least 272 years and possibly to the ripe old age of 500.

Some research had suggested they grow extremely slowly, less than half an inch (a centimeter) per year, suggesting a life span well beyond those of other vertebrates. Determining a bony fish's age can be easily done by analyzing their otoliths, or ear stones. But sharks, which are made mostly of cartilage, lack this kind of hard, calcified tissue

The largest shark in researchs, at 16.5 feet (five meters) in length, was estimated to be approximately 392 years old. Nielsen says there is some uncertainty around that estimate. He and his colleagues determined with 95 percent certainty that the shark was between 272 and 512 years old, and it was most likely around 390.

Also, female Greenland sharks are reported to reach sexual maturity at lengths greater than 13 feet (four meters), they likely would start breeding at 156 years of age.

Cold environments cause low body temperatures, which in turn means slow metabolism and thus less damage to animals' tissues.

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