Scott OT #177: The Day Thread of Greenland Sharks (4/22)

It’s my birthday, so it’s time for (even more than usual) indulgent nonsense from me! For my birthday, it’s a list of the coolest things about my new favorite type of shark, the Greenland shark (Somniosus microcephalus). (If you’ve seen me posting the past two days, you can already guess what number 1 will be.)

5.) They have an Inuit legend about them. Quoth Wikipedia:

“The Greenland shark’s poisonous flesh has a high urea content, which gave rise to the Inuit legend of Skalugsuak, the first Greenland shark. The legend says that an old woman washed her hair in urine and dried it with a cloth. The cloth blew into the ocean to become Skalugsuak. Another legend tells of a girl whose father cut off her fingers while drowning her, with each finger turning into a sea creature, including Skalugsuak.

The Greenland shark plays a role in cosmologies of the Inuit from the Canadian Eastern Arctic and Greenland. Igloolik Inuit believe that the shark lives within the urine pot of Sedna, goddess of the sea, and consequently its flesh has a urine-like smell, and acts as a helping spirit to shamans.”

4.) It can eat some unexpected animals. Greenland sharks have been found with the remains of polar bears, seals, and even and entire reindeer in their stomachs.

3.) They’re super poisonous. If you try to eat one raw, you’ll get sick. However, there is a way to make their flesh edible but that involves burying it for 6-8 weeks.

2.) They can live in a great deal of environments. They can hunt in arctic waters (the only big fish that’s capable of doing so), they can swim at depths that could kill a similarly sized fish, and can even swim in freshwater.

1.) Their lifespan is usually between 300-500 years! That’s not a typo, these fuckers can actually live that long. They have the longest known lifespan of all vertebrate species.

Hope you all have fun posting here today and have a great day.

(Fun fact: I completely spaced on this until I got up to go the bathroom around 5 A.M., freaked out a little, and put this together real quick.)