512-Year-Old Shark Caught by Marine Biologists
512-Year- Old Shark Found in the Wild
Various stories shared heavily online suggest that a team of marine biologists has caught a Greenland Shark that is 512 years old, dating back to the times of William Shakespeare. No, as explained below, the Greenland Shark is not 512 years old.
The stories mention that the very old Greenland Shark measures at a shocking 18 feet long and has overcome and withstood some notable and remarkable times, like the World Wars and Sinking of the Titanic. Certain stories also mention Ocean Quahog Ming as World’s Oldest Animal at 507 Years Old.
Not 512-Year-Old Greenland Shark
The incident in question originates from an August 2016 study published in Science Journal, when scientists captured 28 female Greenland sharks to examine their lifespan. They used Radiocarbon dating of their eye lens nuclei to estimate their lifespan:
..The age ranges of pre-bomb (nuclear bomb tests, which began in the 1950s) sharks (reported as midpoint and extent of the 95.4% probability range) revealed the age at sexual maturity to be at least 156 ± 22 years, and the largest animal (502 cm) to be 392 ± 120 years old..
It should be noted, the scientists mentioned the oldest of the sharks they sampled, one female shark could have been as young as 272 years or as old as 512. Since radiocarbon dating does not produce exact dates, the Greenland shark could most likely be somewhere in the middle, so about 400 years old. Therefore, the stories claiming scientists caught/discovered a 512 years old Greenland shark are hoaxes. The old study published in 2016 was somehow picked up again by some online outlets and reported with exaggerated headlines. Although the exact age cannot be determined, the shark does appear to grow very, very old. The reason for their longevity is that these Greenland shark fishes are very big, very cold, and grow slowly.
Hoax or Fact: