A Greenland shark that was likely about 100 years old when it died was on an English coast. Pathologists from Cornwall Marine Pathology Team did a post-mortem on the shark. They discovered evidence of meningitis, an inflammation of the protective membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. This is rarely seen member of the shark family. This is the first recorded disease-related death of this elusive species.
The shark was found on March 15 on the southwestern Cornwall coast. It was a 13-foot female shark was likely 100 years old, a juvenile in a shark species can live for up to 400 years.
The Greenland shark resides in the Arctic Ocean and the north Atlantic Ocean. It is rarely seen since it lives in the ocean depths.
“During the post-mortem examination, the brain did look slightly discoloured and congested and the fluid around the brain was cloudy, raising the possibility of infection,” James Barnett, a pathologist with Cornwall Marine Pathology Team, a part of the U.K. Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme (CSIP) and ZSL, said in the statement.
The Greenland shark is the second largest shark after the great white and is the longest living vertebrate animal, according to the St. Lawrence Shark Observatory in Quebec, Canada. They typically live in waters more than 8,600 feet below the surface.