Matthew 10:29

“Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.”

I remember my mother taking me into the fishmonger’s store. She was particularly interested in buying plaice. The store had a number of offerings, all of which had spots. She chose one with faint orange spots. On the walk home, I asked why she hadn’t gone for one of those with pretty deep red spots. She told me that the deeper the spots, the older the fish – and that the red spotted specimens were too old to eat.

So I wonder what she would have made of the Greenland sharks that appear to be the oldest vertebrate animals on Earth. They do not have convenient red spots to help date them, so a two-pronged approach is used. First, scientists catch younger specimens, born in the 1960s, at the time when many great powers were testing nuclear weapons. The fallout was absorbed by the sharks’ eyes, and so a pretty accurate age for the fish can be calculated. The scientists can plot how fast these sharks grow. So one Greenland shark was estimated to have been at least 272 years old. This is only the lower limit. The uncertainties in the calculation mean that the shark could actually be over 500 years old and was possibly swimming around Greenland before the Mayflower Pilgrims landed in the New World and before the King James Version of the Bible was translated.

But God, who knows every sparrow, even when it falls to the ground, certainly knows about this old shark.    Author: Paul F. Taylor

Prayer: Thank You, Heavenly Father, that You care for us more than the sparrows, more than the lilies and more than ancient sharks. We praise You for Your goodness and mercy towards us. Amen.


Ref: World’s oldest vertebrate is a shark that may live for 500 years, 8/26/2016, < >, accessed 11/28/2018. Image: Public Domain.