In an evolutionary sense, sharks are among Earth’s oldest survivors; they’ve been roaming the oceans for more than 400 million years. But some individual sharks boast lifespans that are equally jaw-dropping. Incredibly, deepwater sharks off the coast of Greenland appear to have been alive and swimming back in Shakespeare’s day 400-plus years ago—making them the longest-lived of all known vertebrates.

Bristlecone pines can live to be 5,000 years old. Sea sponges can live for thousands of years. One quahog, a hard-shelled ocean clam, died in 2006 at the age of 507. But among vertebrates, the long-lived skew much younger. Bowhead whales and rougheye rockfish can live for up to 200 years, and a few giant tortoises may also approach the two century mark. Now it seems that Greenland sharks more than double even these remarkable lifespans, scientists report today in Science.


The reason for the sharks’ unfathomably long lives has to do with their lifestyles. Cold-blooded animals that live in cold environments often have slow metabolic rates, which are correlated with longevity. “The general rule is that deep and cold equals old, so I think a lot of people expected species like Greenland sharks to be long-lived,” says Chris Lowe, a shark biologist at the California State University at Long Beach. “But holy cow, this takes it to an entirely different level.”

Lowe, who wasn’t involved in the research, adds that Greenland sharks must have a metabolic rate “just above a rock.”

Greenland sharks spend their time in the remote, freezing depths of the Arctic and North Atlantic oceans, making it difficult for researchers to parse the details of their lifestyle and reproduction. Determining their birthdates is even harder. Until now, scientists have been thwarted in their efforts to date this elasmobranch species—a group which include sharks, skates, and rays—by the fact that the animals lack calcium-rich bones, which can be radiocarbon dated.

Faced with a dearth of calcium-rich material to date, the authors of the new study employed a creative solution: They searched the sharks’ eyes. The nucleus of the shark’s eye lens, it turns out, is made up of inert crystalline proteins that are formed when the shark is an embryo and contain some of the same isotopes used to date bones and teeth. Measuring the relative ratios of these isotopes enabled scientists to determine the year when each shark was aged zero.

Scientists examined 28 female sharks—all acquired as bycatch from commercial fisheries—to find that many seemed to have lived longer than two centuries. (Scientists discarded the youngest animals, because they showed signs of radiocarbon released by Cold War-era nuclear bomb testing.) The biggest shark of this group, which measured about 16.5 feet, was believed to be 392 years old—placing her in the era of astronomer Galileo Galilei. Yet Greenland sharks are known to grow well over 20 feet, meaning many are likely even older.


Read more:

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Rain rain, come back please.

Busy week with gale force winds, no rain with rising temps. Power outages as trees pulled the lines down.

My solar lanterns served me well and I read a book at night-  FOR BREAD ALONE – by Mohamed Choukri. Excellent read, autobiography of a illiterate 15 year old street urchin in Tangiers. 1952 when the French were supposed to leave after 40 years occupation.

The power returned after mid night.

Gravity water line has no more water in its source spot so attempted to extend the line by 50 metres uphill.  Now a trickle to hand water the gardens.  Broad beans developing but need water to plump out. Chards, kales, lettuces and broccoli doing well. All seeded from here.

The borage was chewed to the ground by the wallaby invasion of the kitchen garden. Chili in a watering can deterred any more chew offs. Now rebounded with little water from me.

Dinner time ………..with marinated tofu.

Who pays who?

Like the street scenes too. Great song.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

23rd September…………working bee in Brunswick Heads.

Byron Shire Chemical Free Landcare’s next fortnightly working bee will be on Saturday, the 23th of September, from 9 am to 1 pm, at Brunswick Heads Crown Land Reserve site. Meet at the end of South Beach Road fire track gate, not far from the Surf Club. Please wear boots, long sleeve shirt and long pants, a hat, gloves and bring water, rain coat  and some morning tea. Tools and first aid kit will be provided.

If you come later, we will be doing followup work of Bitou Bush seedlings from the North boundary, dog beach access track, towards the South, Tyagarah Nature Reserve. Please call if you are lost.
BSCFL is a project of Mullum Seed
Mullumbimby Sustainability Education and Enterprise Development Incorporated

Nadia de Souza Pietramale
Project Coordinator
0478 272 300

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Soil degradation.

Good morning working in a valley which was half layered with lantana mulch 6 years ago. Follow up should have been achieved earlier which made for some hard slashing. But to clear around emerging rain forest trees, self sown, is very satisfying. A variety too, from red, white and pencil cedars to rosewoods. The soil is teeming with life beneath the cover of lantana and in this area I have found discarded birds nests.

Me feeling quite satisfied  with my hardy brush hook.

No wonder with the huge increase in synthetic fertilizers and herbicides to maximize harvests. Banks and governments have a lot to answer for.

Davidson Plum tree in blossom. This plum makes the most delicious plum jam and for a savory twist, a sauce with chilli…………..I remember plum jam my Mother used to make and in my adult life always disappointed at a bought product. Then I tasted Davidson Plum jam and I would never buy a shop product again.

The Coral tree is still in full blossom and attracted King Parrots, lorikeets, honey eaters and Noisy minors. I have never seen such a variety of birds feasting which I put down to the killing/poisoning of the trees down the valley and the birds are seeking sustenance. Little else flowering as we wait for rain.



Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

At last, LGBTIQ life stories are coming out into mainstream.

I am always disappointed that the basic human rights of LGBTIQ people are being used and pilloried by the opportunistic politicians, made worse  when the  present government pandered to the bigots in its own party and disallowed a free vote in parliament.

Our present PM was elected in the gay heartland of Sydney. 2 years our community has endured a focus like never before, often cruel and demeaning.

Over my many years I have witnessed/encountered a wide range of direct discrimination, in hospitals, same sex partners denied access to their dying partners in some states, to hostile challenging of wills after the death, by family members who had never bothered or cared about their kin during their lives. In employment and in housing. When I first moved to London in the early 70s and searched for accommodation  I would see signs in newsagent windows that read ” No Irish, No Blacks and No Queers.”

I know a lot has changed for the better since those grim days but like a lot of things in life, attitudes modernize but underneath hard core homophobia does not. I still hear it in language from people whom I thought were more enlightened. Why are our sex lives any different to anyone else’s ?

For me personally, marriage was never on my radar but for many I know think its a public affirmation which, for better and for worse, will provide them with a confirmed stability, something many gay people have never felt and  have sought in other ways, sometimes ending in suicide.

Marriage to me is a sacrament, some gay people seek that as a confirmation to who they are as a human.

Simply said its about equality in the eyes of the law and if a florist or a baker do not wish to sell their product for the celebration of a gay marriage, then its still about inequality. But then the power of the dollar should over rule such bigotry. Gay weddings are big business. Their loss in the long run.

Now with the media frenzy ( by the way, climate change and what it will really means, doesn’t get a look in ) many incredible, moving and sad stories are emerging from the gay community on what many have endured over their life times.  I think as I read and listen to these stories and the resilience of many that its very timely these stories are being told.

One plus one…………..worth a viewing.

One day, my journals from my early days, will be looked at again. Warts and all.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized


As we view the anger of the weather in the Caribbean and Florida, its just a question of what region is next. While our sun is shining and already we are seeing signs of drought in our Shire, it is always about adaptation when a crunch comes.


So early start in the gardens where I had to chase out a swamp wallaby and a pademelon who had enjoyed feasting on what greenery is still flourishing. Fennel and parsnips seem to be their preference with both munched to the ground. They have learnt how to jump the fence.

Early start in the rain forest where I enjoyed 2 hours of slashing and layering remnant lantana plants. Had the rare glimpse of a Albert Lyre bird as it scurried to seek cover from me.

Unusual this time of the year to this  Lesueur’s frog in the bath.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Not before time.

James Thornton’s specialty is suing governments and corporations on behalf of his only client – the Earth – and he’s very good at it. In his four decades of legal practice across three continents, he’s never lost a case.

Acknowledging this in 2009 the New Statesman named him one of the ten people likely to change the world; ClientEarth, the public interest environmental law firm he started in London in 2007 now employs 106 people.

Thornton has been in Australia to talk about his work and his new book, Client Earth, which he co-wrote with his partner Martin Goodman. When I met them in Sydney, Thornton was keen to discuss his unlikely adventure in China, while Goodman, usually a reserved Englishman, enthused about the unexpected hope he found while writing Client Earth.

First invited to Beijing in 2014 to help implement China’s new law allowing NGOs to sue polluting companies for the first time, Thornton has seen how serious the world’s biggest polluter is about addressing its environmental problems. He believes their concept of “ecological civilisation” is the best formulation he’s heard for the new environmental story we must tell.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized