According to a report, Scientists have studied that the Earth’s largest fish is Whale Sharks and have also determined their age by using radioactive elements from bomb tests.
A new study suggests that besides being the largest fish in the ocean, the whale shark is the longest living species of fish.
Generally, the whale shark’s weight is around nine tons, and they grow approximately 10 meters long!
There are reports which claim that by measuring the level of a radioactive element carbon-14. Many researchers have found that there are distinct bands present inside the shark’s cartilaginous vertebrae and are formed annually, just like the tree’s growth rings.
According to a report, it was already recognized that as a shark aged, these bands existed and increased in number. But it was not clear whether new rings appeared every year or every six months.
For determining the accurate age of whale sharks, the scientists during the busy years of atmospheric nuclear tests in the 1950s and 1960s, they compared carbon-14 levels in the rings to determine variations in its global presence.
According to the researchers, one of the female whale shark, a 10-meter-long was discovered stranded in Pakistan in 2012 and was believed to be 50 years old. Though previous methods are accurate for calculating the age but Bomb dating is the best so far. The previous method works by estimating the age by comparing an individual’s length at different times using photographs. So it is estimated that whale sharks live up to 130 years.
The journal Frontiers in Marine Science shows a study by marine ecologist Joyce Ong of Rutgers University in New Jersey stated that “These elevated levels of carbon-14 first saturated the atmosphere, then oceans and moved through food webs into animals, producing elevated levels in structures such as the vertebrae of whale sharks,”.
It has now become easy for the scientists to measure the age of a whale shark after its death as one ring is equivalent to a year. Apart from this, the analysis also shows that these vulnerable marine giants have a very slow rate of development.