A Greenland shark recently caught in the North Atlantic near the Arctic was estimated to have lived for four centuries, give or take 100 years.
Researchers from the United States, Denmark, England, and Greenland, who have been researching Greenland sharks, estimated one shark to be 392 years old based on radiocarbon dating, according to the Virginia Institute of Marine Science.
The institute said the calculation of the 16-foot shark's age had an "uncertainty of plus or minus 120" years.
"The team's results suggest the Greenland shark lives longer than any other known vertebrate, and raise concerns about its conservation in light of pressures from commercial fishing," said the institute.
"The sharks are caught incidentally in North Atlantic fisheries for cod, halibut, and other bottom-hugging species; and have themselves recently been targeted as an exotic seafood for export to China."
According to the journal Science, which published the researchers' study, Greenland sharks are large, but they grow slowly, taking 150 years to reach their maturity level.
"Radiocarbon dating of eye lens nuclei from 28 female Greenland sharks (81 to 502 centimeters in total length) revealed a life span of at least 272 years," noted the study.
The deep sea sharks are believed to be "relatively abundant" throughout the North Atlantic and Arctic, particularly from eastern Canada to western Russia, said Reuters. The sharks are spotted at times by deep-sea robotic submarines at latitudes further south, such as in the Gulf of Mexico, and at depths of 1.4 miles.
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