Scientists may have found a whale that is older than USA – the whale may have been alive since 25 years before the USA existed.
Scientists have made the discovery that many mammals live far longer than expected, meaning the Bowhead whale has an average 268-year life expectancy. This whale lives in the Arctic and was previously known to live at least 211 years. One whale was dated using amino acids from its eye.
However, Australian researchers used a genetic ‘clock’ to predict animals’ lifespans, and they say the whales live nearly 60 years longer than that. They worked out the math after studying 42 genes and using a chemical process called methylation (method used to predict life expectancy).
“Vertebrates range hugely in lifespan, from a pygmy goby, a tropical fish which lives for only eight weeks, to a bowhead whale. It is incredible to think that there is an animal which lives for almost three centuries and could have been alive when Captain Cook first arrived in Australia. The results will also help to work out animals’ risk of extinction. This could not be used to predict people’s lifespan as it looks at species rather than individuals. It also provides averages only,” Daily Mail quoted study author Dr Benjamin Mayne, of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation in Canberra as saying.
Just imagine, a whale has been swimming around in the Arctic, since before USA was formed!
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