Scientists discovered a shark of approximately 512 years of age swimming in the waters of the Arctic Ocean, near Greenland, making it the oldest living vertebrate in the world, reported the journal Science.
The potential age of the shark was estimated by its size, since it is believed that this type of animal grows about one centimeter annually.
The researchers, from the Norwegian Arctic University, said it is proven that Greenland sharks live for hundreds of years and spend most of their lives swimming to find a mate.
Experts say that the specimen, which measures 5.4 meters in length and weighs more than a ton, was looking for companion for a long time or in its absence had hundreds of them during its existence.
Academics research the animal's DNA to learn from its genes more about what determines life expectancy in different species, including humans.
They also discovered that most of the Greenland sharks eat fish, although they have never been observed hunting their prey. The curious thing for science is that they have found remains of reindeer and horses inside their stomachs.
This type of shark predates the Industrial Revolution and commercial fishing on a large scale, so they have been called life-time capsules, as they could help decipher how human behavior has impacted the oceans.
The Fisheries Society of the British Isles has spoken about the importance of this species, since it has formed several populations in the Arctic Ocean, which is why it is important to develop appropriate conservation actions.
(With information from Prensa Latina)