Popular Science

Why scientists are racing to uncover the Greenland shark's secrets

What’s cooler than the Arctic ocean? The sharks that live there.
Greenland shark head on

Head on.

The Physiological Society

Brace yourself. To human senses, the gelid waters of the Arctic and North Atlantic oceans are beyond chilling. Because sea water is salty, the waters can actually reach temperatures below what we think of as freezing (as low as 28.8 degrees Fahrenheit instead of the usual 32) and remain liquid. Without protective gear, the human body can withstand maybe 15 minutes of these temperatures before succumbing to unconsciousness; 45 minutes before death.

And yet somehow, the Greenland shark—a species that can reach more than 15 feet in length and a scale-busting 880 pounds—calls these waters home. These cartilaginous fish do more than tough out frigid, and may hold secrets to how we might live longer, healthier lives.

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