It was the catch of the day: on 31st July 2022, it was reported that there was a rare sighting of the Greenland Shark species. This re-discovery occurred in Belize, a country located northeast of Central America, and was a jaw-dropping moment for researchers. Considering the shark can live to over 500 years old, the team of Florida International University researchers had to take a closer look...
The Greenland shark is one of the "longest living animals on earth" and a one-of-a-kind species with the most extended lifespan out of all "vertebrate species." It was first discovered in 1936 and "recaptured" in 1952. They are typically known to be the largest fish species and the only ones found in the Arctic Ocean. These sharks are considered highly unique. Besides being half-blind, they can accept and adapt to living temperatures throughout the year, even as low as -1 degrees Celsius in water. While there are theories why the sharks are found close to the equator, researchers are aware they will have to go as deep as 7,000 feet, noted NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). Considering the creature was last spotted around 70 years ago, questions remained - and researchers knew it was time to investigate.
While the researchers initially believed the shark was deceased, it turned out to be alive, making this an extraordinary sighting. One of the Florida International University researchers and Ph.D. candidates, Devanshi Kasana, believed the shark looked "really, really old" due to its "black, worn-looking skin and pale blue eyes." Considering the researchers have vast fishing experience, this was something they had never seen before as a black figure was slowly appearing right before their eyes. Just like the majority of re-discoveries, this finding was completely unplanned. Not wanting to harm the shark, they reeled it in slowly to take measurements, notes, and photographs for further investigation. Even though they can be found anywhere in the world, they are scarce and up to this point, were considered almost existent.
To this day, there is still very little information about the shark. However, what scientists do know is that the Greenland Shark is a "slow-growing fish" at a speed of "approximately one-third of an inch per year and can grow to more than 20 feet in length." Due to aspects of history repeating itself, researchers can also surmise the fish is most likely found in "icy waters," such as the Arctic and North Atlantic. This was a great day for scientists. After putting the research on halt for a while, this was the perfect opportunity to re-start. Stay tuned for more updates while this story develops.