Why Running Cold Lets Some Creatures Grow Old


The Greenland shark shot to global fame recently when scientists revealed its staggeringly long life span: 272 years at least, with one female maybe even pushing 512 years. The finding makes the Greenland shark the longest-lived vertebrate known to science. But this shark, which plies the frigid Arctic Ocean, shares the water with a bevy of long-lasting species, such as the ocean quahog clam and bowhead whale, both of which can live for hundreds of years.

In fact, many Arctic species seem to live longer than their southerly brethren. For a long time, scientists wondered if there was something in the water. Now, researchers are starting to think there may also be something in these species’ genes.

I was glad to get the opportunity to write a little piece riffing off the recent story about the gormless Greenland shark and its astonishing age for Hakai Magazine – you can read the whole thing here.


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