Science & Tech

Shark that can live for 500 years found by fishermen leaving scientists baffled

Shark that can live for 500 years found by fishermen leaving scientists baffled
Scuba diver encounters grey reef shark

Scientists are shocked having found a shark normally found deep in the Arctic, 4,000 miles away in the warm Caribbean.

According to findings published in the Marine Biology journal, the Greenland shark turned up off the coast of Belize in Central America while a team of researchers were out on a boat catching and tagging tiger sharks.

Devanshi Kasana, a PhD student at Florida International University, was part of the crew working with local fishermen at the time when she realised that a particular fish on the end of their fishing lines looked like a "rather sluggish creature".

She added: "At first, I was sure it was something else, like a six-gill shark that are well known from deep waters off coral reefs. I knew it was something unusual and so did the fishers, who hadn’t ever seen anything quite like it in all their combined years of fishing.”

Kasana took a photo of the animal and sent it to her advisor, who said it appeared to be a Greenland shark, which was soon confirmed by experts on the specific species.

Another expert thought it might be a hybrid between a Greenland and a Pacific sleeper shark.

Omar Faux, a fisherman on the boat, said: "I am always excited to set my deep water line because I know there is stuff down there that we haven’t seen yet in Belize, but I never thought I would be catching a Greenland shark."

This is the first time that the large shark has been seen in the western Caribbean, off the world's second-largest coral reef, according to the university. The half-blind Greenland shark is rarely seen and is the longest-living vertebrae animal known, with some age estimates between 250 and 500 years old.


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