Staff – Department of Biology - University of Copenhagen

Forward this page to a friend Resize Print Bookmark and Share

BIO - English > Staff

Eye lens radiocarbon reveals centuries of longevity in the Greenland shark (Somniosus microcephalus)

Research output: Research - peer-reviewJournal article

Documents

  • 702.full

    Final published version, 476 KB, PDF-document

Julius Nielsen, Rasmus B Hedeholm, Jan Heinemeier, Peter G Bushnell, Jørgen S Christiansen, Jesper Olsen, Christopher Bronk Ramsey, Richard W Brill, Malene Simon, Kirstine F Steffensen, John F Steffensen

The Greenland shark (Somniosus microcephalus), an iconic species of the Arctic Seas, grows slowly and reaches >500 centimeters (cm) in total length, suggesting a life span well beyond those of other vertebrates. Radiocarbon dating of eye lens nuclei from 28 female Greenland sharks (81 to 502 cm in total length) revealed a life span of at least 272 years. Only the smallest sharks (220 cm or less) showed signs of the radiocarbon bomb pulse, a time marker of the early 1960s. The age ranges of prebomb sharks (reported as midpoint and extent of the 95.4% probability range) revealed the age at sexual maturity to be at least 156 ± 22 years, and the largest animal (502 cm) to be 392 ± 120 years old. Our results show that the Greenland shark is the longest-lived vertebrate known, and they raise concerns about species conservation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalScience (New York, N.Y.)
Volume353
Issue number6300
Pages (from-to)702-4
Number of pages3
ISSN0036-8075
DOIs
StatePublished - 12 Aug 2016

    Research areas

  • Journal Article, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Number of downloads are based on statistics from Google Scholar and www.ku.dk


No data available

ID: 164569396