A new study by the Guy Harvey Ocean Research Institute found that whale sharks can live up to 130 years and males can reach 62 feet — larger than previously believed.
The research was conducted in the Republic of Maldives by taking underwater measurements of whale sharks.
Aging and growth research had required obtaining vertebrae from dead whale sharks and counting growth rings.
“What makes this a novel approach is that we took repeated non-invasive underwater measurements of live sharks over the course of a decade,” said Cameron Perry, the first author of the scientific paper, in a statement.
“Our work shows that we can obtain age and growth information without relying on dead sharks captured in fisheries,” Perry said. That is a big deal.”