Sharks Live Longer Than We Thought
73-year-old great white identified
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Jan 9, 2014 4:13 AM CST
A great white shark near Guadalupe Island off the coast of Mexico.    (AP Photo/Discovery Channel, Andrew Brandy Casagrande)

(Newser) – Great white sharks that manage to stay out of the soup pot can live to much greater ages than earlier realized, according to new research. Using tests that measure radiation from atmospheric nuclear tests, scientists identified a male great white that lived to be around 73 years old and a female that survived to around 40, reports Earlier research suggested the sharks only made it as far as their early 20s, but scientists now believe the huge predators are among the longest-lived cartilaginous fish.

Great whites are considered a vulnerable species and the research has important implications for conservation programs, as it suggests the sharks are slower-growing and later to mature than earlier believed. Great white shark conservation should be put on a par with the "conservation we have—and take for granted—for marine mammals, which also have low fecundity, long lifespans, and late maturity," a spokesman for the Shark Trust charity tells the BBC. "The conservation of sharks is not like the conservation of trout in a river, and that's something people in the fisheries business don't always understand."

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Showing 3 of 4 comments
Jan 10, 2014 3:38 PM CST
They need to be able to live long enough to get a law degree after all.
Ezekiel 25:17
Jan 9, 2014 4:09 PM CST
Living so long, it won't take long to fix that glitch.
Jan 9, 2014 10:26 AM CST
And in other related news the "Shark Fin Industry" is blooming and the demand for shark fin soup is up......sad.