MIAMI : Greenland sharks are the Earth’s longest-lived vertebrates - or creatures with a spine - with a lifespan that can last as long as 400 years, international researchers have said.

Their slow growth rate - about one centimeter per year - contributes to their exceptionally long lives, beating out other well-known centenarians of the animal world such as the bowhead whale and the Galapagos tortoise. In fact, only one species of clam is known to live longer, said the study in the journal Science, adding, “The life expectancy of the Greenland shark is exceeded only by that of the ocean quahog (Arctica islandica, 507 years).”  Known formally as Somniosus microcephalus, the Greenland sharks are the largest fish native to Arctic waters.