Sharks can live for a century or more

Reply Sat 10 Dec, 2011 07:43 am
Greenland Shark
Written by Damond Benningfield
Sunday, 18 October 2009

FILM: http://www.scienceandthesea.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=243&Itemid=10

The Greenland shark already has several aliases -- sleeper shark, ground shark, and others. But another good one might be the “wrong-way” shark. While other sharks head for warmer waters during winter, the Greenland shark heads for colder waters. It rises toward the surface, where water temperatures drop to near freezing -- several degrees colder than the deeper layers it inhabits during summer.


Greenland sharks can live in near freezing water. Credit: Andy Murch, Elasomdiver www.elasmodiver.com

The Greenland shark is found mainly in the North Atlantic, from New England and Canada across to Scandinavia -- farther north than any other shark.

But it’s well adapted for life in its cold home. Unless it’s grabbing a meal, it conserves its energy by moving slowly. Eating can be a low-energy activity, too, because it often feeds on dead fish. And it doesn’t put much energy into getting bigger, either: Once it reaches adulthood, it grows less than an inch a year.

Even so, the Greenland shark can grow to 15 to 20 feet long, and weigh half a ton or more. Because of that great size and slow growth rate, researchers believe the sharks may live for a century, or even two.

During the early 20th century, Greenland sharks were caught for the oil in their large, fatty livers -- perhaps as many as 50,000 of them a year. But they weren’t taken for their meat. Their flesh is filled with compounds that make it taste bad. And unless the meat is dried or repeatedly boiled, it can make you drunk.

But perhaps that’s not too surprising for a creature that always seems headed in the wrong direction.
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Reply Sat 10 Dec, 2011 08:36 am
Sharks can live for a century or more

Between shark fin soup and all the toxins in the ocean, they'd be lucky to even achieve adulthood these days.
Reply Sat 10 Dec, 2011 09:21 am
the aphrodisiac power of

Shark is one of the most controversial foods considered to be an aphrodisiac. This is the result of unending demand throughout Asia (most particularly in China) for the fins of healthy sharks. The appetite for shark fins would not be so bad if the desire for shark meat matched the obsession with fins. Unfortunately, as of the early twenty-first century, there is little interest in the Asian marketplace for shark beyond the fish’s dorsal fin.

The result is rampant, illegal de-finning of sharks around the world to sell to the Chinese apothecary and restaurant trade. There, it is made into shark fin soup, a treatment for aging, internal organ function and, of course, as an aphrodisiac. To obtain fins, the sharks are caught, their fins removed, finless bodies returned to the sea where they, essentially rudderless, sink to the bottom of the ocean to die. Worst of all, unlike many other Chinese, homeopathic prescriptions, there is no evidence that shark fin soup provides measurable aphrodisiac benefits.

However, shark meat may help enhance that sexual glow. A 3.5 ounce serving of Mako, a variety commonly caught and served today, offers 21 grams of energy-sustaining protein to every 4.5 grams of fat. It is also a good source of magnesium as well as selenium, an important nutrient for sperm production.
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