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Ancient shark said to be 512 years old

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Staff Writer | Thursday December 14, 2017 5:38AM ET
Greenland shark
Animals   Greenland sharks mostly eat fish

The massive Greenland shark was found in the North Atlantic ocean by scientists who estimated it is up to 512 years old.

They used its size to suggest its year of birth is as early as 1505. Greenland sharks, which only grow 1cm a year, have been known to live for hundreds of years.

Experts used its length – a staggering 18ft – and radiocarbon dating to determine its age as between 272 and 512 years old, according to a study in journal Science.

It was the oldest of a group of 28 Greenland sharks analysed for the study.

The shark would have been alive during major world events like the founding of the United States, the Napoleonic wars and the sinking of the Titanic.

Greenland sharks mostly eat fish but they have never been observed hunting. They have been found to have remains of reindeer and even horses in their stomachs.

Their flesh is considered a delicacy in Iceland, but it is also toxic if not treated.


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