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Great white sharks 'live for 70 years'

RATE THIS! +32
Posted in Science on 10th Jan, 2014 12:16 AM by AlexMuller

Using a new technique to age the tissues of these impressive creatures, scientists have identified a male great white that lived into its 70s. The researchers say the finding has important implications for the animals' protection. Knowing the longevity of a species, how fast it grows and when it reaches sexual maturity is vital information for designing conservation programmes.

 
"These creatures are amazing and it's fascinating to study them," said Li Ling Hamady, who is part of a joint programme between MIT and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in the US.
 
"Everyone thinks they know these animals so well, and the public perception is that they're either loved or hated. But in terms of the science, we're only just now beginning to understand what they eat, where they go and how long they live," she told BBC News.
 
Scientists have tried to age the spectacular predators by counting annual growth rings in their tissues, such as in their vertebrae. But the sharks' cartilage skeleton makes the division between these rings hard to discern even under the microscope.
 
Now, Ms Hamady and colleagues tell the journal Plos One that they made these rings easier to read by looking for a known radioactive marker.
 
This is a type, or isotope, of carbon atom that was produced in the fallout from the atmospheric nuclear bomb tests in the 1950s and 1960s.
 
It would have gone into the ocean and been incorporated into the tissues of marine animals living through that period. The scientists used the easy-to-detect radioactive carbon as a kind of date stamp to help them count and calibrate the growth layers better and thus determine the age of their test samples.

Tags: sharknatureoceangreat white shark

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Comments

Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-01-10
+2
This is quite new to me. I always assumed that we knew how long the main species live in particular those that talked about a lot. Of course, this is very important information and will help conservation Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-01-10
+1
Assuming they do live into the 70s in a normal lifetime, white sharks may now be considered among the longest-lived of all cartilaginous fish. What an unexpected finding Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-01-10
+1
Great white sharks have suffered some bad press down the years, very often unfairly, and like many of the world's sharks have come under increased hunting pressure. Any further information will hopefully help protection
2 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-01-10
+0
It makes sense that Australia would want to try to reduce the amount of attacks that happen on their beaches. Reply
Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-01-10
+2
Recently I found an interesting report about sharks in Australia. Australia has decided to take a unique approach to stop shark attacks by tagging sharks with an electronic device that sends out auto-tweets when it is swimming dangerously close to a beach. Great idea!
4 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-01-10
+2
Yes, I believe it will work. They made a big effort. Along with various pictures and safety tips, the feed tweets advisories about what species of shark was detected, where it was detected, and when. Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-01-10
+1
This will benefit beach goers and their safety but importantly would help to protect great white sharks or other endangered shark species. This solution of warning is much better than a plan that permits fishermen to kill a big shark if it is swimming in a designated surfing or swimming area. Reply
Reply


 

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