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Oldest Living Vertebrate May Be Greenland Shark
New method of working out age shows shark to be around 400 years old (CCSS Level: Grade 6, Words: 343)
Aug 18, 2016 Science & Technology
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A female Greenland shark has set a new record for the oldest living vertebrate ever discovered. Using a new method, scientists have managed to work out the age of a shark that was accidentally caught by fishermen. What they came up with was amazing. The Greenland shark was around 390 years old, although the range of possible ages stretches from 270 to 500 years. This means that the shark could have been born around 1600, just around the time the Taj Mahal was completed in India. The Ming dynasty had just ended in China and the Great Fire burned much of London. She reached adulthood around the time of the American revolution and lived through two world wars.

The Greenland shark is one of the world's largest carnivores. Not particularly beautiful, it is grey, plump and can grow up to 5 metres in length. But they reach that size very slowly, only growing about one centimeter each year. They were thought to live for a long time, but until this new research was done nobody knew exactly how long. The scientists were able to work out the shark's age by carbon-dating the animal's eyes.

Some whales are known to live for over 200 years, while the oldest elephant, Lin Wang, died at the age of 86. Humans are a little better with one Frenchwoman achieving the ripe old age of 122. However the title for the world's longest-lived animal is held by Ming, an Icelandic clam, that made it to 507 years before scientists brought it's life to an end.

For even older living things, you have to look at the plant kingdom. There are olive trees around the Mediterranean that are between 2,000 and 3,000 years old.

Beating them all, however, is the Pando colony of a single male quaking aspen tree in Utah, USA. Even though it looks like a grove of trees, it actually has just one root system, and it is thought to weigh 6,000,000 kg. And its age? The root system is around 80,000 years old!

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ac-ci-dent

an unfortunate incident that causes harm


n.事故/不测

ac-ci-den-tal-ly

happening by chance, not planned


adj.偶然

ac-tual

real, in fact


adj.实际

a-dult-hood

reached full size, grown up


n.成年

a-ma-zing

makes you surprised


adj.惊人

car-bon

a chemical element that has two main forms (diamond and graphite) and that also occurs in charcoal


n.碳

car-bon-da-ting

work out the age of something measuring carbon    


v.碳定年

car-ni-vores

animals that eat meat


n.食肉动物

com-plete

to finish, end 


v.完成

com-ple-ted

finished or ended


v.完成

den-tal

of the teeth


adj.牙齿的

dis-co-vered

found, uncovered


v.发现    

fe-male

girls, women


n.女性

grove

a small group of trees


n.树林

king-dom

a country or area rule by a king or queen


n.王国

lump

an irregular-shaped piece of material


n.块

Me-di-ter-ra-ne-an

the countries around the Mediterranean Sea


n.地中海

ol-dest

been around for the longest time


adj.最老的

par-ti-cu-lar-ly

very or especially


adj.尤其    

qua-king

shaking or shivering


adj.发抖的

re-cord

the best or most ever measured    


adj.记录

re-search

looking for knowledge


v.调研

rev-o-lu-tion

a big change in the way things are done


n.革命

rough

having an uneven or irregular surface; not smooth or level


adj.粗暴

sci-en-tists

experts in science, people who study science


n.科学家

stem

the main body or stalk of a plant or shrub, usually rising above ground


n.干茎

ver-te-brate

an animal with a backbone or spine


n.脊椎动物