Death is a reality that affects living beings sooner or later and,Although there are fungi, plants or invertebrates that have a millenary longevity, the oldest vertebrate in the world does not have that luck.
Meet the oldest vertebrate in the world
The oldest vertebrate animal in the world reminds us that this group of animals can also be several centuries old and, although little known, it is the northern shark or Greenland shark (Somniosus microcephalus).
It was Julius Nielsen and his team from the University of Copenhagen who discovered the oldest vertebrate in the world: a 392-year-old boreal shark, although the study emphasizes that its life cycle could take it to 512 years, which add more than five centuries.
Before this study it was thought that the longest vertebrate in the world were the boreal whales, which coexist with the northern shark, and that can reach 200 years,while there are turtles in Galapagos that approach this longevity.
The study is the least surprising: fourteen carbon tests were used in the lens of the eye of accidentally captured animals, which evidenced radioactive traces of the first atomic tests.
The title of the oldest vertebrate in the world probably has behind the slow life of the Greenland shark, because Boreal sharks can take 150 years to reach sexual maturity, because at such low temperatures the metabolism is slow and, therefore, the whole life cycle as well.
Curiosities of the oldest vertebrate in the world
The northern shark also reaches colossal dimensions: The longest shark in the study, almost four centuries old, was also five meters long.
However, it is not only known for being one of the longest living animals in the world, because the truth is that The boreal shark is surrounded by dozens of unique characteristics.
And is that this animal lives in the polar abyss, which is at depths of up to two kilometers below sea level. In these abysses it feeds on squids and fish, although polar bears, horses or caribou have also been found in its stomachs.
Another of the biggest curiosities of the oldest vertebrate in the world is a parasite known asOmmatokoita elongatathat lodges in the cornea of these animals, and that leaves them practically blind.
Although this relationship is completely unknown, it is believed that for the northern shark it could be positive: its sense of sight is scarce and used to hunt its nose. But nevertheless, This parasite has bioluminescence, so it could attract the prey of this shark directly to its mouth.
The consumption of boreal shark: poison and legend
Another of the curiosities of the oldest vertebrate in the world is that it has been consumed by man, even though boreal shark meat has trimethylamine oxide, a toxic that causes a toxicity similar to extreme drunkenness.
And is that after several cooking changes the water, freezing or dried, the meat of the northern shark can eatand, in fact, it is considered a luxury meal in Greenland, while Eskimos usually hunt them by decoys.
This shark is part of the mythology of the Inuit people, and its peculiar and strong urea flavor has led to the most bizarre legends and a special role in its cosmology.For this town, the first boreal shark was Skalugsuak, and its origin is that a woman bathed her hair with a cloth dipped in urine and threw it into the sea.
Another of his legends is that a father drowned his daughter and cut him while his fingers, which became several sea beasts, including Skalugsuak. By last, The Inuit of Igloolik, in northern Canada, believe that this shark lives in Sedna's urinal, the goddess of the sea and the creatures that inhabit it.