Super old sharks of the Arctic Ocean

Brought to you by Robert Kokenyesi, Ceramic Artist, Beachfront Pottery, Godfrey, IL USA.

The research report

Many large animals have long lifespans, like the Galapagos tortoises, leatherback sea turtles, elephants, whales, so what about sharks?  Most of the time growth rates (growth of the entire shark in length) are used to estimate the age of sharks caught.

In this article there is a somewhat uncertain age determination was used: radiocarbon dating.  Radiocarbon dating works well for land animals and plants, but not that well for ocean-dwelling creatures.  So, that’s where some uncertainty comes in when the results are concerned. However, even if you take into account that uncertainty, the results are still surprising and impressive.  The Greenland sharks can reach the age of over 400 years.  They grow about an inch ever two years, and their length can reach 12-16 feet.  This math also suggests the age of several hundreds of years.  Greenland sharks live in the oceans around the Arctic Circle.


Yes, Some Greenland Sharks Are Old, but 400 Years Old?! – D-brief

Never ask a female her age – unless, of course, she’s a 16-foot-long Greenland shark and it’s for science. The shark species was shown to have remarkable longevity, living up to 400 years and reaching sexual maturity around 150 years, according to a paper published Thursday in Science.


Beachfront Pottery pieces

I created several ceramics pieces with the title “Ancient Shark”.  My motivation was the sharks that swam in the oceans hundreds of millions of years ago.  Now I can create a series based on the Greenland sharks as well.

Kokenyesi Image#4AncientSharkII

Kokenyesi Image#3AncientSharkII


My Ancient Shark, II piece on spider mount.




So, how other sharks measure up to the super old age of Greenland sharks?  I collected this information from several places on the web.  Whale sharks (the largest living fish today) is estimated to have a lifespan of longer than 100 years; the great white shark has a lifespan of 70 years; the tiger shark has a lifespan of 50 years;  the hammerhead shark has a lifespan of 35 years.


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