Sharks serve another important role in ocean food webs: They are food for marine carnivores. Dead great white sharks that washed up on South African beaches without their livers were thought to have been victims of orca attacks. And video footage recently showed a dogfish shark Squalus clarkae feeding frenzy on the bottom of the Atlantic that ended with a grouper swallowing one of the sharks whole. Even octopuses are known to feed on sharks, as demonstrated in a video that National Geographic posted to YouTube in In fact, gray reef shark forays between coastal waters and the deep sea in the Pacific Ocean's Palmyra Atoll bring the reef more than lbs.
Because sharks have few babies and are slow to mature, their numbers aren't replenishing quickly enough to keep up with losses from commercial fishing, Daly-Engel said. For example, you may be in your 20s, 40s or 60s, but your fingernails and skin are mere weeks old, which wouldn't tell future scientists much about your age. These shark eye lenses are formed of an inert crystal-like protein, which is first formed while the shark is still in its egg. But that method just wouldn't work for these slow-growing, long-living fish because of peculiarities in how the sharks grow cartilage.
But the eyes have it. Of the 28 fish the team dated, the oldest is estimated to be around years old—possibly even up to years old.
The radiocarbon dating process isn't exact, but gives a fuzzy age range. With the exception of the smallest two, all the sharks were older than There's another, strange reason scientists can be so sure of this: Cold War-era nuclear testing radically increased the number of heavy carbon isotopes the world over thanks to radioactive fallout spreading throughout the atmosphere during that time, creating another scientific way to confirm dates.
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