In the 1620s, the Mayflower pilgrims landed in what is now Massachusetts, the Thirty Years War raged in Central Europe, Johannes Kepler put forth his laws of planetary motion, and the oldest-known Greenland shark was born.
Greenland sharks live in the frigid waters of the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans where they mostly feed on fish. Swimming no more than two miles per hour, the hulking beasts move slowly and grow just as slowly, just 0.5 to 1 centimeters per year. Yet they can grow to be more than six or even seven meters in length! This means there are likely even older Greenland sharks out there waiting to be aged.
"Our results show that the Greenland shark is the longest-lived vertebrate known," the researchers write. With the finding, the Greenland shark firmly passes the bowhead whale, which is estimated to live up to 211 years.