The latest research out of James Cook University in Australia reveals that sharks live a lot longer that we previously thought.

The research, which was carried out by Dr. Alastair Harry and is published in the journal Fish and Fisheries, reveals that some sharks can have double the lifespan of what was previously thought possible.

The research concludes that the traditional method to estimate rays’ and sharks’ ages, by counting growth rings, can produce hugely underestimated results. The study shows that after a certain age or size, the growth rings stop forming, and are no longer a reliable measure of the animals’ age.

Shockingly, the average age underestimate is 18 years across all species, with some being underestimated by an enormous 34 years. A classic example given by Harry, is Sand Tiger Sharks, which were thought to live for about 20 years, while in reality they can be around for up to 40.

The latest research could have some serious implications for shark and ray conservation and management, with population numbers being thrown into disarray.

You can read Harry’s research here.

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Sam Helmy is a TDI/SDI Instructor Trainer, and PADI Staff and Trimix Instructor. Diving for 28 years, a dive pro for 14, I have traveled extensively chasing my passion for diving. I am passionate about everything diving, with a keen interest in exploration, Sharks and big stuff, Photography and Decompression theory. Diving is definitely the one and only passion that has stayed with me my whole life!

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