Even with the protein stabilizing effects of TMAO, the Greenland Shark’s life processes seem to occur in slow-motion. On average, biochemical processes occur three times more slowly for every 18-degree Fahrenheit (10-degree Celsius) drop in operating temperature. It’s not surprising, then, that the Greenland Shark grows at a positively glacial pace: a 9-foot, 1-inch (2.77-metre) specimen tagged off western Greenland in 1936 was recaptured 16 years later, when it measured 9 feet, 4.5 inches (2.86 metres) — indicating an average growth rate of less than 1/4 inch (0.56 centimetres) per year. At that rate, a 21-foot (6-metre) long Greenland Shark could very well be several centuries old.


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