According to a new study from researchers at the Northeast Fisheries Science Center and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, great white sharks can live to be up to 70 years old.
According to a new study from researchers at the Northeast Fisheries Science Center and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, great white sharks can live into their 70s.
Past studies of great white sharks in the Indian and Pacific Ocean suggested the notorious animals only live to see their twenties, but the latest research of 4 adult female sharks and 4 adult males found in the Atlantic Ocean puts the oldest female at 40 years and the oldest male at 73 years.
Li Ling Hamady, who is part of the study, is quoted as saying: “Everyone thinks they know these animals so well, and the public perception is that they're either loved or hated. But in terms of the science, we're only just now beginning to understand what they eat, where they go and how long they live.”
Previous attempts to age the sharks involved counting the annual growth rings in their tissue, like tree rings, but these are hard to distinguish, even for experts using a microscope.
But by using nuclear bomb testing dates and radioactive evidence in the tissue of the sharks, researchers were able to determine how old they really are.