According to the conclusions of a new study conducted by investigators at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), in the United States, the top predators of the ocean, the great white sharks, live considerably longer periods of time than researchers first estimated.
The same investigation also determined that the animals grow at a much slower pace. These data were collected from the first successful radiocarbon age validation study ever conducted on these creatures. In a sample of 8 sharks from the northwestern Atlantic, the oldest male was 73 years old, while the oldest female was 40 years old.
One of the reasons why this research is so important is because it can give researchers more insight into how to set up conservation efforts. These plans need to take into account differences between males and females of a species, the time it takes for juveniles to mature, and other such factors, e! Science News reports.
“These findings change the way we model white shark populations and must be taken into consideration when formulating future conservation strategies,” explains WHOI scientist and study coauthor Greg Skomal. Details of the work were published in the latest issue of the journal PLoS ONE.