“It seems to have been floating for a long time, looking at the sea with my eyes. I also don’t want to tell anyone that enjoying a person’s life, loneliness will not make me lose myself, the sea breeze blows by my side, one person wanders; one person preys; one People, one person, accustomed to living alone, one person living quietly…” Recently, a 392-year-old Greenland shark caused heated discussions among netizens.
This 392-year-old Greenland shark was found in the Arctic Ocean and has been wandering alone in the sea for nearly 400 years since 1627. If its memory does not degenerate, then how powerful it needs to be to sustain so many years of loneliness!
A netizen said: “This lonely Greenland shark was born in the first 100 years of the industrial revolution in the era of King Charles in Britain. It is like a fossil, telling the world its existence.”
Today, we will take a look at this ancient race-Greenland Shark.
Greenland shark, also known as sleeping shark, is one of the largest sharks, known for its ugly appearance and slow movements. It is widely distributed, and traces of this shark can be seen in the Arctic and North Atlantic waters at a depth of 1,200 meters, and to the south to Argentina and Antarctica, people have also found this shark.
The Greenland shark is the longest-lived vertebrate in the world. It has a huge cylindrical body, a short round nose, and a body length of up to 5 meters. The food of Greenland sharks includes fish and crustaceans, as well as some mammals, such as dolphins, and occasionally polar bears and turtles.
Greenland sharks grow only one centimeter a year and can live for hundreds of years on average. They do not mature until they are 150 to 160 years old and begin to reproduce. According to the British “Sun” report, scientists are currently studying 28 Greenland sharks, and this 392-year-old Greenland shark is undoubtedly the oldest of them. It may have witnessed the founding of the United States, the Napoleonic Wars and the sinking of the Titanic. And other major international events. Another netizen joked: “If a shark has a memory, I would like to know how it spent the more than 300 years in its memory? Of course, I would like to know how people judge the age of this shark?”
In the 1930s, fish biologists marked a total of 400 sharks. The only result was the discovery that Greenland sharks grow approximately 1 cm per year. However, the scientists at the time were unable to determine the age.
A long time later, John Stephenson, a marine biologist from the University of Copenhagen, tried to find a basis for judging age from the vertebrae of Greenland sharks. However, he did not find the “annual ring” he was looking forward to. So he turned to Jan Heinemeier, a carbon isotope dating expert from Aarhus University in Denmark. Heinemeier’s suggestion is to study the eye lens of sharks and measure the carbon isotope inside.
After spending several years and collecting enough Greenland shark carcasses, Stephenson and Julius Nelson embarked on the “carbon-seeking journey in the eyes of sharks.” A nuclear test in the mid-1950s helped them. The nuclear explosion added carbon-14 to the ecosystem and helped Stephenson successfully confirm the age of two Greenland sharks less than 2.2 meters long. They are all “post-60s.”
With these three reference values-carbon isotope determination, the length of the Greenland shark when it was born (approximately 42 cm), and their growth rate (1 cm per year), Stephenson made a guess about the age of the shark. It turned out that the oldest Greenland shark was 392 years old. Although the error of the estimated result is as high as 120 years, it is estimated in the worst case. Of course, the age of the Greenland shark also broke the record of vertebrates at that time.
This lone walker has survived for nearly 400 years and has accompanied mankind for nearly four centuries. He says that “accompaniment is the most affectionate confession”, then can we treat this walking living fossil “confessor” with gentleness What?