This new information will help with the design of conservation projects, as according to the IUCN list of endangered species, great whites are “vulnerable,” and efforts are being upped to protect them.

Li Ling Hamady, who is part of the joint research project between MIT and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in America, said to the BBC: “Everyone thinks they know these animals so well, and the public perception is that they’re either loved or hated. But in terms of the science, we’re only just now beginning to understand what they eat, where they go and how long they live.”

All the animals involved in the study were from the Atlantic but the scientists believe that the lifespans of sharks living in other major oceans will be similar. The new research also points to great whites having the longest lives out of all similarly-classed fish.

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