According to a new study by the University of Copenhagen, the Greenland Shark is thought to have a lifespan of at least 272 years, probably even longer.
That makes it the longest living vertebrate (creature with a backbone). It outlives sea turtles(100), tortoises(100-200), and bowhead whales(200). Among
other creatures, Greenland Sharks are still outlasted by the ocean quahog (507), the bristlecone pine(4,847), and the jellyfish(seeming to be immortal).

Its behavior is sluggish; it is a slow swimmer. It is one of the larger sharks, comparable to the Great White. The body is thicker with a rounded snout, smaller
fins, and small gills for such a bulk. Color ranges from gray to dark brown. The Greenland lives in the cold depths of the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans; it has little contact with humans. Its prey is mainly fish, but it will also eat seals. Because of its slow speed, it is thought that it ambushes sleeping seals.
Rotting flesh in the water is attractive to this scavenger. It has been found to have consumed polar bear, moose, horse, and reindeer. Mating age is reached at about 150. The young are carried by the female and born alive.

The toxic flesh contains high concentrations of urea and trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO). In Iceland, the shark's meat is fermented and dried for months to remove the toxins and is eaten as a delicacy: kæstur hákarl. Outlanders have found it quite disgusting.

Sources: New York Times/Science Times and Wikipedia

Picture: By NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program -, Public Domain,