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Scientists estimate a Greenland shark lived about 400 years

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WASHINGTON — Scientists now calculate that Greenland sharks are Earth’s oldest living animals with backbones.

They estimate that one of those grey sharks was born in icy Arctic waters roughly 400 years ago and lived until only a couple of years ago.

Using a novel dating technique, an international team of biologists and physicists estimated the age of 28 dead female Greenland sharks. Eight of them were probably 200 years or older.

Marine biologist Julius Nielsen at the University of Copenhagen estimated that the oldest of them was 392 years old, but with a huge 120-year plus or minus margin of error because of uncertainties in technique.

Until now, the record holder was a bowhead whale that hit 211 years old.

The study is published Thursday in the journal Science.

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