Sharks are hard to understand because, well, only a select few will get up really close to them. Recently, marine scientists discovered a 512-Year-Old shark in the chilling waters of the North Atlantic.
It’s always exciting when we find something old that doesn’t exist anymore – like dinosaur fossils. But what happens when it’s ancient and actually living?
Well, a young marine biologist discovered a 512-year-olds shark swimming around in the North Atlantic.
Julius Nielsen was the young marine biologist that discovered this ancient shark. It was found by himself and his team.
When Julius laid his eyes on this particular shark, he knew it was different from the rest as he had vast experience as a marine biologist.
Next: Most Ancient Shark in History
Oldest Shark Ever
What Julius didn’t know was that he had just come across the oldest living shark ever discovered in the history of man.
He had no idea that he was going to make huge waves (excuse the pun) in the marine world.
He Had to Measure His Age
When Julius first crossed paths with this rare giant, he knew that there was something special and unique about him.
Julius realized he had to come up with a new method of measuring the age of the shark because the usual methods that marine biologists are not exceptionally accurate.
So how do marine biologists work out the age of a shark?
Studying Marine Life
In the ‘Journal of Science’ you will find all of Julius and his team’s findings after they used a new technique to discover the age of 28 animals.
But they had absolutely no idea that they would encounter such an old shark! Just wait until you see clearly how it looks!
A Brand-New Way of Doing Things
Now, marine biologists and people who study sharks know that they usually grow somewhere around 0.4 inches per year. That’s how they work out their age.
However, this special and unique shark was very special and Julius knew this. Therefore, the young marine biologist knew he had to come up with a new measuring method.
In Julius’ own words
So What Did Julius Have to Say?
Julius expressed in an interview that he and his team were very surprised to study such an ancient vertebrate.
“We had our expectations that we were dealing with an unusual animal, but I think everyone doing this research was very surprised to learn the sharks were as old as they were.”
How Old is a Greenland Shark?
The hardest part about learning the age of this species of shark lies with the fact that they have a very soft body and no parts that can deposit growth layers.
He says that until he tried his new method, nobody could tell how old these sharks really are?
What was his groundbreaking new method?
Measuring the Radiocarbon
Julius discovered a new method to measure the shark’s age. He had to measure the radiocarbon in the eye lenses of the shark.
This was how he was able to determine the shark’s ancient age.
Julius said that: “The Greenland shark’s eye lens is composed of a specialized material – and it contains proteins that are metabolically inert.
He explained this in an interview with the BBC.
How did they learn that the shark is ancient?
Adults Sharks at 150 Years Old?
By looking at the proteins that can’t be renewed after being synthesized, the scientists were able to do a radiocarbon dating.
A phenomenal thing the scientists never knew about these sharks is that they only start any sort of sexual activity as soon as they grow into an adult – at 150 years old!
No one really knows how sharks get to be so old but Julius believed the reason why this shark got to be so old was the fact that he had such a slow metabolism.
He also figured out that swimming around in absolutely freezing cold waters accelerated the slowing down of his metabolism.
What are the shark’s origins?
Where Does He Come From?
This is a question that no marine biologist has the answer for. As one can imagine, the shark has moved around a lot considering it has been around for 512 years.
What is for sure is the fact that this is a ginormous discovery in the world of marine biologists and hopefully more ancient underwater sea life will be discovered.
What Happened to the Shark?
Julius knew that once examining the shark was finished, he would have to let it go but he had to do this in a safe way.
Julius put a GPS chip tracker on the ancient shark and let it free in the cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean so that he could track it.
The shark’s biggest threat
The Shark’s Biggest Threat
The biggest threat that faces the shark is, in fact, are parasites that can latch on to his eyes. The reasons shark’s eyes can look so damages is because of these parasites.
We are sure though that this ancient shark, who has seen and experienced so much in his life – things we could never imagine, will do just fine on his own.