Great White Sharks Can Rival Your Grandfather’s Stories

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Great white sharks live much, much longer than we thought

– A new carbon dating method, if proved consistent and reliable, have allowed scientists to more accurately estimate the age of Great White Sharks. It turns out they can live more than twice as long as anyone had ever thought. Currently, biologists look at the tissue layers around a sharks vertebrae in order to calculate their age, counting them like one would count the rings inside a tree. The new method is explained…

“By comparing the concentrations of carbon-14 in the layers of tissue on a shark’s vertebrae to known levels in the atmosphere at different dates, specific layers can be time-stamped and a more accurate age estimate can be made.”

A vertebrae from one individual tested using this method was estimated to have been in it’s early 70’s. While this new method has great potential for use and is a fascinating find, the future of the world’s most prolific shark just got that much worse.

Researchers and conservationists are already having trouble figuring out how to best protect this vulnerable species. While in recent years they have made many breakthroughs, figuring out their exact breeding patterns has still proved elusive. Those studying have seemed to find a few specific believed breeding locations that many sharks return to again and again bringing our understanding a little closer to facts. But much still remains a mystery. Considering the breeding and the maturing rates of animals is probably the most important aspect to understand in order to help protect a species, this new dating method has just made the job a whole lot more difficult. This is why…

“Animals that live long, grow slowly, and reproduce later in life are much more sensitive to pressures like hunting and fishing and environmental changes. They are also more vulnerable to extinction because their low population growth rates make it harder to bounce back and replace lost individuals. If sharks regularly live into what we consider the “golden years,” new conservation plans will have to take that longevity — and the problems that go with it — into consideration.”

See the article for more details.

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About Jon R.

Silly, serious & everything in between – that’s me in a nutshell. (Salty too… since I’m in a nutshell I might as well be suitably seasoned!) It’s apparent that I have a different way of thinking and seemingly have a talent for viewing things with a more independent perspective as well as an ability to perceive the objective nature of things more than most. Much like anyone else, I wish for the world to be more civilized and enjoyable for all. I’m full of ideas and love to improve things, and (un)fortunately the world has plenty wrong to offer. I’ve always been a problem solver and I love doing it. My endless ambition plus the urge to defend what’s right and bring reason has lead me to writing. With this I aspire to contribute some good to the world in order to help make it a better place. Regardless, all views are my opinion and not meant to offend anyone. While I seem to have the less popular point of view on things, I don’t represent any one side. I respect all sides and do my best to reflect on all fairly and within reason. I hope readers will find the content on this site interesting, and just maybe, will leave with a little more of an open mind.
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