A Ph.D. candidate at a Florida university discovered an ancient shark in a coral reef in the Caribbean.
Devanshi Kasana, studying at Florida International University (FIU), made the discovery while working with local Belizean fisherman, according to a Monday press release from FIU.
Kasana initially believed it was a six-gill shark. “I knew it was something unusual, and so did the fishers,” she said. “(They) hadn’t ever seen anything quite like it in all their combined years of fishing.”
The shark turned out to be a Greenland shark, a half-blind animal thought to live mainly in the freezing Arctic waters. Greenland sharks feed on polar bear carcasses and can live upward of 400 years old, according to FIU. They’re the longest living vertebrate in science, FIU reported.
Not much is known about Greenland sharks, but experts believe they could live deep in tropical waters, where temperatures are lower, worldwide.
“Great discoveries and conservation can happen when fisherman, scientists, and the government work together,” said Beverly Wade, Director of the Blue Bond and Finance Permanence Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister of Belize. Prime Minister Wade called Kasana’s finding a “fantastic discovery” that can lead to “some great conservation work.”
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