back to article More gums than Jaws: Greenland super-sharks live past 400 years old

Researchers from the University of Copenhagen have overturned biological thinking with the discovery that the Greenland shark, an apex predator swimming in the Arctic Ocean, can grow to over 400 years old. The shark, which feeds on seals, fish, and whatever else it can get its saw-like jaws into, has an exceptionally slow …

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  1. Commswonk Silver badge

    Typical specimen is older than America

    <pedant>

    No it isn't. America has been there for millions of years. America even predates any form of human occupation by a very wide margin. OK; I might accept "Typical specimen is older than naming of America" but even that might be wrong.

    </pedant>

    1. Mephistro Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Typical specimen is older than America

      Totally agreed, but what Iain probably meant was "Typical specimen is older than the USA". That would fit with the sharks "average lifespan of 272 years".* :-)

      In a more serious note, I don't think that calling USA's citizens "Americans " is correct or admissible, even if mostly everybody does it.

      *: Which was probably the point of your comment. ;-)

      1. Mikey

        Re: Typical specimen is older than America

        !In a more serious note, I don't think that calling USA's citizens "Americans " is correct or admissible, even if mostly everybody does it."

        I thought the general usage these days was 'muricans? Or Yanks, that works too. Or, if they elect that orange potato-faced halfwit, 'Buffoons'...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Typical specimen is older than America

          Or, if they elect that orange potato-faced halfwit, 'Buffoons'...

          I think that condition was more than met when they elected one George W Bush. And re-elected him.

          That said, on this side of the pond the same happened, the f*ckwit in question a certain Tony Blair. Also twice.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. Vincent Ballard
            Coat

            Re: Typical specimen is older than America

            Actually Tony Blair was elected three times. 1997, 2001, and 2005.

          3. FIA

            Re: Typical specimen is older than America

            That said, on this side of the pond the same happened, the f*ckwit in question a certain Tony Blair. Also twice.

            Nope. That would be 3 times. (To be fair, sometimes traumatic events do get repressed).

            Or more pedanctically, Zero times, as we elect MPs (and by extension parties) not prime ministers. ;)

          4. Youngone Silver badge

            Re: Typical specimen is older than America

            You people moaning about George W and Tony Blair make me laugh.

            Come to New Zealand and have a look at the specimen we've elected three times!

            He was a currency speculator.

            1. DanceMan

              Re: Typical specimen is older than America

              As a Canadian I'd love to make some disparaging remarks about Bush Jr and Blair, but how would I explain 10 years of Harper? Only saving grace is that Chretien, before Harper, had enough sense to keep us out of Iraq.

        2. chivo243 Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: Typical specimen is older than America

          @Mikey

          Yes! Revert to attacking appearances... Nicely done! I could care less if he's got a fucking potato head and crossed eyes if he can lead a country sensibly. But I guess the UK wouldn't know what it's like to have a leader lead sensibly for quite some time, regardless of appearance.

          And for historical reference, the term Yanks is really referring to the Dutch immigrants to NY, which was called New Amsterdam, and the kids were all named Jan Cees or Yankees when you've had one too many Guinness.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Typical specimen is older than America

            > I could care less if he's got a fucking potato head ...

            I invite you do do so. Care less that is.

            The proper expression is "I couldn't care less..."

            1. Captain DaFt

              Re: Typical specimen is older than America

              -The proper expression is "I couldn't care less..."-

              Nope; "I could care less." is the proper term.

              I always take it to mean, "I could care less, but it's not worth the effort."

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Typical specimen is older than America

                No the correct term is "I couldn't care less". If you could care less then you care some what about it, so you do think and put energy in to something you don't actually care about.

                "I always take it to mean, "I could care less, but it's not worth the effort.""

                Doesn't make sense, as said before, if you could care less, you care about it, therefore put energy in to said caring. If you couldn't care less, you don't think at all about it therefore expend no energy on it.

                Those 2 links are for people that don't actually understand what the words coming out of their mouths mean.

                Different AC.

                1. chivo243 Silver badge

                  Re: Typical specimen is older than America

                  @AC'(s) Don't know if there are many cowards out there...

                  Gee, glad the whole idea of making fun of someone's appearance missed the mark, and one apostrophe and one t created a shit storm, nicely done again. Way to derail the comment! Now get a life...

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Typical specimen is older than America

                "Could care less" is logically incorrect but accepted in general speech in the US. Read literally it indicates that it is possible for you to care less about the topic which is probably not what you meant. There's a pretty fair summary at http://grammarist.com/usage/could-care-less/

                1. Captain DaFt

                  Re: Typical specimen is older than America

                  If anyone had bothered to read the links, They'd have seen that "I could care less" is sarcasm.

                  Amazing, Reg readers unfamiliar with that concept. Wotta World!

                  :)

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Typical specimen is older than America

                    North American refers to things from north of the Panamanian isthmus.

                    South American refers to things from south of the Panamanian isthmus.

                    American is a superset of both - referring to things from all "the Americas" and is also a colloquialism for "of USA."

                    Yank is a synonym of "jerk."

                    'nuff said?

                  2. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

                    I Could Care less

                    This is in reply To Cap. Dafts comments about "I could care less" being the correct and valid phrase - they will be about 100 posts above this one due to a politics conversation and the Reg's rather limited threading system.....

                    no ! no! no!

                    Its just wrong , unless that second post is saying people are saying that "ironicly" ie because they know its wrong? which is the same as admitting its wrong.

                    Anyway - ill leave it to the king of logic and angry rants, David Mitchell, To explain it:

                    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=om7O0MFkmpw

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Typical specimen is older than America

            But I guess the UK wouldn't know what it's like to have a leader lead sensibly for quite some time, regardless of appearance.

            .. quite interesting to hear from a nation who had to ditch the only person who actually managed to reduce your deficit by foisting a kid on him who didn't know how to clean a dress. I guess he wasn't wasting enough money on wars and the Stasi clones you have today who are quite happy to perpetuate the financial hole you have as they get served with tax money (as well as what you borrow per second) well before the population. Clever that, living so far above your standard that nobody no longer has a choice but to keep lending..

            Also, as far as I know, the UK isn't capable of initiating a global financial crisis. It's quite able to help, granted (and the main actor in that here has dragged an enormous amount of loot out of that one himself, of course), but it still has too many people who can whistle back the government before it goes completely wrong.

            That said, we're now well on track to lose a large part of those annoying shackles - to me, that appears the main reason to push for Brexit. Can't have them foreigners hold back the fleecing of the peasants like the US can.

            On the plus side, as long as those peasants still believe all that nonsense about "democracy" and "freedom" there isn't really a reason to change, is there? The US problem is that the black ones have caught on. You can only kill so many of them without any noticeable consequences before the herd starts questioning your claims that you have a functional justice system - you might want to keep that in mind. *Proper* leadership would have dealt with that a long time ago..

            1. JLV Silver badge

              Re: Typical specimen is older than America

              From sharks to Stasi clones and dry cleaning protocols*...

              Commentards never cease to amaze.

              * Bill was barred from reelection by the 22nd amendment rather than by his aim.

          3. Yesnomaybe

            Re: Typical specimen is older than America

            "I could care less if he's got a fucking potato head and crossed eyes if he can lead a country sensibly."

            On balance, how likely do you think that is?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              WTF?

              Re: Typical specimen is older than America

              Sorry, have I stumbled into the Daily Mail forum by mistake?

          4. enormous c word

            Re: Typical specimen is older than America

            @chivo

            "Nicely done! I could care less if he's got a fucking potato head and crossed eyes if he can lead a country sensibly"

            What are you trying to say? That you actually care a lot? Or did you mean to say "I couldn't care less..." you need a negative in there or what you're trying to say makes no sense - unless you have no idea of what you're talking about - in which case who cares.

            And yes, while we in the UK did vote in the Tony bliar (see what I did there?) what amazes still me is that the US actually voted in Al Gore, but got dumber-than-a-bag-of-nails George W Bush, then actually voted him in properly next-time-around after he'd made a fool of himself and a mockery of the US.

            By comparison Donald (would have made more money had he left his huge inheritance in the bank) Trump sure does knows how to run a country (oops! I forgot to put a negative in there)

        3. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

          Re: Typical specimen is older than America

          Or if the Felon makes it the world's most powerful banana republic, hence "Bananas".

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Typical specimen is older than America

          > !In a more serious note, I don't think that calling USA's citizens "Americans " is correct or admissible, even if mostly everybody does it."

          If most everyone doing it isn't the definition of correct, then what is? And have you tried looking in a dictionary?

          Because "American" really is the correct, accepted demonym for US Citizens. The citizens of other countries in the Americas have their own demonyms, e.g. Canadian, Mexican, Peruvian, Bolivian, Honduran, Brazilian, Argentine (no, not Argentinian), etc., etc.

          Or you could look like a dumbass and try to use USAian or something similarly stupid. (Cue rounds of: it's 'Murican, usually punctuated with comments about overweight Americans, as if Britain doesn't have plenty of its own lard asses.)

          1. Big John Silver badge

            Re: Typical specimen is older than America

            Thank you for that explanation, but you're wasting your time. Anyone who actually types 'Murican in general usage is beyond reasonable discourse on the subject.

          2. Keef

            Re: Typical specimen is older than America

            Or you could use the universally accepted:

            Septic.

            Works for me.

      2. Steve Knox Silver badge

        Re: Typical specimen is older than America

        In a more serious note, I don't think that calling USA's citizens "Americans " is correct or admissible, even if mostly everybody does it.

        Well, technically, calling US citizens "Americans" is as correct as calling squares "rectangles" (i.e, the first is a specific subset of the second.)

        However, using "Americans" to refer ONLY to US citizens is, yes, extremely stupid.

      3. oiseau

        Re: Typical specimen is older than America

        "... don't think that calling USA's citizens "Americans " is correct or admissible, even if mostly everybody does it."

        Quite so ...

        America is a continent which spans from northern Canada to southern Chile.

        1. Pompous Git Silver badge

          Re: Typical specimen is older than America

          America is a continent which spans from northern Canada to southern Chile.

          No, there are two Americas -- North America and South America. They are separate continents.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Typical specimen is older than America

      >older than naming of America

      I suspect the author was referring to the "United States of America" - the political, rather than geographical entity.

      Referring to the geographical entity would obviously be pointless with regard to lifetimes - even the exceptional shark lifetimes - and is therefore an unlikely reading of the text.

      1. Commswonk Silver badge

        Re: Typical specimen is older than America

        I suspect the author was referring to the "United States of America" - the political, rather than geographical entity.

        Seems highly likely; some (very) casual research suggested that the expression United States of America was first used in 1776.

        However, for those of us for which that particular date does not represent some sort of "year zero" we could say that a typical Greenland Shark alive now could easily have been born before the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745 with the oldest individuals perhaps being alive during the Great Plague of 1665 * or the Great Fire of London * the following year.

        * Other historical waypoints are available.

        1. PNGuinn Silver badge
          Go

          NEW ELREG UNIT??

          C'mon, lads this is REAL SCIENCE (TM). Don't knock it.

          There's a new unit of age lurking in here somewhere, shirley??

          1. Esme

            Re: NEW ELREG UNIT??

            What, as in" I'm just (some fraction) Sharks old"?

            Hmmn.. it'd make getting birthday cards a tad tricky..

    3. Purple-Stater

      Re: Typical specimen is older than America

      <pedant>

      The continents are North America and South America. There is no land mass of "America" except as a colloquialism when referring to the two continents collectively, similar to using the term Eurasia.

      </pedant>

      1. Ledswinger Silver badge

        Re: Typical specimen @ Purple-Stater

        There is no land mass of "America" except as a colloquialism when referring to the two continents collectively,

        Magnificent. You, sir, are an apex pedant, and I bow down before you.

    4. William 3 Bronze badge

      Re: Typical specimen is older than America

      If you were truly a pedant you would have used the Land Mass Named America.

      As it stands your just as guilty of taking shit as the people you're being critical about.

    5. macjules Silver badge
      Headmaster

      and another pedant grammar(er, for 'Muricans) alert ...

      ".. an apex predator swimming in the Arctic Ocean, can grow to over 400 years old."

      No, you do not grow to an age, you 'reach', 'mature' or 'age' to 400 years or older.

    6. Faux Science Slayer

      "Amazing! New! Wrongco Proxy Crock!" at CanadaFreePress

      Fresh killed penguins have a Carbon-14 age, because every form of "proxy" is a crock !

  2. VinceH Silver badge
    Coat

    We're gonna need a bigger an older boat.

  3. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Childcatcher

    Cue bycaught sharks complaining about "In my day, the humans caught us using sail power. None of these fancy engines!"

  4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "This species of shark is seldom eaten by man, since its flesh is infused with trimethylamine N-oxide, which is toxic, has a strong smell of urine"

    I can't say I'm impressed with the taste of a much smaller shark, dogfish, AKA rock salmon.

    1. Commswonk Silver badge

      I can't say I'm impressed with the taste of a much smaller shark, dogfish, AKA rock salmon.

      I have never tried eating one. Having had to dissect a dogfish as part of a Biology course when at school I only have to hear the words "dogfish" or "rock salmon" for me to recall the the smell of fishy formaldehyde - the dissection was not a one day event.

      I also recall the poor fish wreaking a sort of post mortem revenge by being able to blunt any approaching scalpel blade without physical contact being required.

      Somehow the idea of eating one simply does not appeal...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Gimp

      I'm rather fond of shark* but it must be fresh and "in season" as it does, like most cartilaginous fish, have a disagreeable ammoniacal off season...

      *in general, never tried Greenland shark. Seems its off season is more pronounced and perpetual... although I understand more hardy chondrichthivores overcome this by allowing their dinner to rot for a few months prior to consumption.

      1. Triggerfish

        I used to quite like the flavour of dogfish, they used to sell it in chippies in London sometimes prefer it for the flavour to Cod.

  5. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. Anonymous IV

    The Greenland shark [...] can grow to over 400 years old

    <pedant>

    A year is not a unit of growth. Strewth.

    </pedant>

    Looks like the Reg sub-editors have been given the day off.

    1. Pompous Git Silver badge

      Re: The Greenland shark [...] can grow to over 400 years old

      Looks like the Reg sub-editors have been given the day off.

      Or they decided to give the pedants something to argue about ;-)

      It's "Merkins" BTW, not "Muricans".

      1. Anonymous Coward
        WTF?

        Re: The Greenland shark [...] can grow to over 400 years old

        A Merkin? Ever actually looked up what one of those are?

        Hint: it a wig, but not for your head.

        1. The First Dave

          Re: The Greenland shark [...] can grow to over 400 years old

          Which makes it highly appropriate as a "term of endearment"

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