Many would agree that one of the scariest creatures in the ocean is the great white shark. We can thank Jaws for most of that fear of the sharks. Scientists studying the great white have made a very interesting discovery recently.
Great white sharks have a lifespan similar to that of humans. The sharks can live 70 years or more. Previously scientists believed that the lifespan of a great white was only about 23 years. The new research proves that the sharks are considerably older than previously believed.
The researchers used a radioactive isotope called Carbon-14 that fell into the oceans after nuclear tests in the mid-1950 to 1960 were conducted. The absorption of that isotope was used as a time stamp. The research team captured four female and four male sharks in the Atlantic Ocean. The vertebrae of the sharks were studied and the scientists were able to deduce the age of the sharks.
The oldest male shark was found to be 73 years old and the largest female shark was 40. The scientists say there isn’t enough evidence to tell if the females live shorter lives than the males. The data also indicated that sharks develop at a slow pace in the same way humans do.