Lemon sharks, for example, have been found to even have ‘friends’. But not all are like this; some species prefer a solitary lifestyle and only cross paths with other sharks during mating or at common feeding grounds.
According to NOAA, the bowhead whale has the longest lifespan of all marine mammals, living for up to at least 200 years. That’s a lot of birthday candles!
But what about sharks? Scientists have studied the maximum ages of only some of the 500-plus shark species, but it seems that the Greenland shark is not only the longest-living shark species, it is also the longest-living vertebrate on earth! Researchers estimated that one female was about 400 years old and that she reached sexual maturity when she was about 150.
Humans pose the biggest threat to marine mammals and sharks. Today, these animals face the following threats, among many others, to their well-being:
The threats in the above list are complicated. Some can be tackled relatively easily (by saying ‘no’ to plastic bags that can end up in a shark or whale’s stomach, for example, or not purchasing seafood that was caught by questionable or unsustainable methods). Others, such as the shark-finning situation, are more complex. It can be sad to learn about all these threats, but there is some good news: you can help to mitigate them by learning about the issues, choosing a few ways to help marine animals in your day-to-day life, and doing it!
Ellen C. Garland, et al., 2017, Song hybridization events during revolutionary song change provide insights into cultural transmission in humpback whales
NOAA, 2021, What is the longest-lived marine mammal?.&text=Scientists%20agree%20that%20the%20bowhead,Mammal%20Permit%20782%2D1719).)