Shark Species

How Old is the Oldest Shark?

How Old Is The Oldest Shark?

The fossil records of sharks show that they have been residing in the deep ocean water for hundreds of millions of years. With time, some species of sharks disappeared from the planet however, their fossils record are the only proof of their existence. Talking about the present-day species, no one knows the oldest species of sharks thriving under the water. Learn more about the oldest shark here.

Which is the Oldest Shark?

Well, the historical background of the sharks depicts that they have been living on the planet for more than 500 million years ago. However, the researchers can only collect the fossils to date their existence. The oldest known shark that thrives up till now is the Greenland shark.

How Old is the Oldest Shark? 

The fossil records of the Greenland sharks show that they are the longest-lived vertebrate on the Earth. The researchers use the radiocarbon dating protocols to estimate the age of Greenland sharks and determine that they live for about 400 to 500 years in the ocean’s water.

Where Do Greenland Sharks Live?

The Greenland sharks have remarkable adaptations to environmental conditions. These species are found living in the colder and deeper waters of the Arctic Ocean, the Eastern Seaboard of the United States, the North Atlantic regions, and the Northern Sea. These species are difficult to sight because they live at an approximate depth of 2,200 meters or 7,200 feet.

How Do The Greenland Sharks Look Like?

The Greenland sharks are a dark greyish brown, have cylindrical body shapes, with a rounded snout, small eyes, and without anal fins. The maximum length of the Greenland shark is about 23 feet and weighs around 1.5 tons. They have border square-shaped lower teeth and pointed teeth in upper jaws which help the to hold large prey.   

What Do Greenland Sharks Feed On?

These sharks are carnivorous species that feed on a variety of stuff, such as:

  • Small sharks
  • Crustaceans
  • Carrion
  • Seabirds
  • Terrestrial mammals
  • Skates
  • Herring
  •  Eels
  • Arctic char
  • Flounder

How Do Greenland Sharks Reproduce?

The Greenland sharks adopt the mechanism of ovoviviparity to give birth to the young ones. These species have a shallow reproductive rate which is why they have a gestation period of 8 to 18 years. After the successful end of the incubation time, the shark gives birth to 10 pups in each breeding season. The pups of the sharks grow only 1 cm in 1 year and become sexually mature at the age of 150 years.

What is the Conservational Status of the Greenland Shark?

Well, these species have been greatly threatened by human activities, habitat loss, climate change, and pollution, which make them highly vulnerable species because they have a very slow growth rate, reproduction rate, and late maturity. Under these circumstances, the IUCN listed the Greenland sharks as Near Threatened species in the red list.  

Final Verdict

For millions of years, sharks have been found living on the planet, however, the oldest shark that thrives in oceanic water is the Greenland shark. Researchers believe that these species are living for about 400 to 500 years in the colder waters of the Arctic regions especially. These species are carnivores and feed on a variety of foodstuffs. Due to human activities, climate change, and pollution, these species have been listed as Near Threatened by the IUCN.

About the author


I am a Scholar and a dedicated content writer. I am on a mission to stamp out the importance of one of the ocean's most fascinating and remarkable creatures, the sharks, and to let people know about their role in keeping the ecosystem in equilibrium.