Did you know that there is a species of shark called the Greenland Shark, that can live over two centuries?
Well, now you do. While most shark species have a life expectancy of 30 years or so, Greenland sharks can live 250 years or more.
Some scientists believe they can live to be 500. To find one of these mythical creatures and the opportunity to study them has been limited and rare.
Five days ago, an incredible thing happened. A Greenland female shark was spotted dead on the beach in Newlyn Harbour, Cornwall. Before experts could come in and take the shark to be studied, it washed away back into the sea.
Two days later, the dead carcass was spotted by the Marine Strandings Network (MSN). The MSN is responsible for recording ocean wildlife stranding in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. They have been doing this for over 25 years. When they saw the shark carcass, they were speechless.
While everyone would have loved to find the shark alive, it can still be studied and give us the answers we yearn for.
According to those aboard the MSN vessel, the shark is a Greenland female shark that could be between 300 and 500 years old. This is estimated from her large size. We won’t know more until the vet pathologist examines it.
Nine years ago, the last Greenland shark that was found in British waters was in Northumberland.
What we know about these amazing sharks is that they grow at a slow rate, 1 cm per year. By the time they are 100-150 years old, they finally reach sexual maturity. Wow! This is why we don’t see them so often.
They also live in the cold North Atlantic waters, so you don’t have to worry about swimming next to one.