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Shark vertebra

Spinal Signs

Marine biologist and MIT-WHOI Joint Program student Li Ling Hamady displays a vertebra of a white shark. The large, white, circular portion is the body of the vertebra and the round hole above it is the vertebral canal, which surrounds the spinal cord. Using radiocarbon values in vertebrae like this one, Hamady has found that white sharks can live much longer than previously thought—more than 70 years, in some cases. Her findings are improving models of white shark growth rates and populations, which will aid the development of conservation strategies for the species. (Photo by Tom Kleindinst, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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