Rarely Glimpsed Shark That Lives For Centuries Unexpectedly Surfaces in Caribbean

According to a recent marine research, biologists were taken aback when they discovered a bizarre cold-water shark thousands of kilometers away from its native environment. In the tropical Caribbean Sea, a Greenland shark—the longest-living animal on Earth—was found.

According to a report that was just released in the scientific journal Marine Biology, the enigmatic shark was met by researchers as they were temporarily tagging and capturing tiger sharks off the coast of Belize.

When the researchers returned after monitoring and studying tiger sharks in Belize's protected Glover's Reef Atoll, they discovered that their line had traveled several miles out from the coral reef and into seas as deep as 2,000 feet.

They were shocked to discover the old Greenland shark when they recovered their scientific capture. Hector Daniel Martinez, one of the researchers, noted, "It looked very, very old," highlighting its home in the deep oceans.

The scientists initially thought it may be a sixgill shark, a common deep-sea predator, but after taking pictures of the seldom seen creature, they were able to determine that it was "most likely" a Greenland shark.

According to Devanshi Kasana, a biologist and Ph.D. candidate at Florida International University's Predator Ecology and Conservation lab, "we suddenly saw a very slow-moving, sluggish creature under the surface of the water," Mashable reported. It appeared to be something that would have existed in the Paleolithic era.

According to the National Ocean Service, greenland sharks have the longest longevity of any animal on Earth, ranging from 250 to 500 years.

The sharks are seldom spotted or captured on camera, and very little is known about their extraordinarily lengthy lives. They spend their days thousands of feet beneath in complete darkness. They mature, grow, and migrate gently down in the water. Their slow-moving, energy-saving way of existence is a vital adaptation to the nutrient-poor deep water.

It was surprising but logical to see a Greenland shark close to a coral reef off the coast of Belize. These enigmatic sharks may live in the Caribbean or other deep-ocean locations, yet they are found in the Arctic's deep waters.

The slope of the neighboring reef descends to depths of up to 9,500 feet, providing Greenland sharks with a frigid and gloomy habitat.

The discovery begs the issue of whether this specific Greenland shark lived a significant portion of its life in the deep tropical waters of the Caribbean or moved there from Arctic seas.

It's still a mystery, but it's quite likely that more of these mysterious animals lurk in the Caribbean's shadowy depths, out of sight of human sight. "I doubt it's the only one," Mashable was informed by Demian Chapman, the Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium's head of Sharks and Rays Conservation Research.

"It takes them over a century to find love."

The finding of this Arctic shark serves as a reminder that the ocean and its ecology are still mainly uncharted territory. The deep waters are still largely uncharted territory.

A 2020 research used genetic analysis to identify two geographically distinct populations of Greenland sharks: one group inhabits seas in the North Atlantic Ocean between Svalbard and Nova Scotia, close to Norway, and the other group swims around Canada's Baffin Basin, above the Arctic Circle.

Being mostly scavengers, greenland sharks consume everything, including fish, seals, polar bears, and whales, both dead and living.

Though they barely grow up to 0.4 inches (1 centimeter) every year, some can reach a length of 24 feet and a weight of 2,645 pounds (1,200 kilograms).

Greenland sharks don't become sexually mature until they are at least 134 years old, per a 2016 research.

According to Julius Nielsen, a coauthor of the research, "they have to wait more than 100 years to get laid—I'm sure they're not happy about that," New Scientist reported in 2016.

This article was originally published by Business Insider.