Opinion

The extremely bizarre Greenland shark deserves to be your new favourite animal

Posted by
Duncan Vicat-Brown
Published
This shark is officially the new best animal 2

What’s the best animal, really? Monkeys? Very good, but they like pulling off hands. Dogs? Man’s best friend, dull answer. Dolphins? Read up on the work of Margaret Howe Lovatt and uh, reconsider.

Nope, we’re settling the argument re. the best animal, because the best animal is the Greenland shark.

Here is our extremely scientific case for the Greenland shark. You can disagree with it if you like, but being wrong about something this important is no way to live your life.

  1. 1.

    They're sharks

    This shark is officially the new best animal 1

    A very good foundation for this argument is that sharks are, in general, extremely good. Most species of shark should find their way onto any top 100 animals list, because they’re massive sea dinosaurs with magic teeth that have to keep swimming or they die. There’s one that’s got a hammer-shaped head, and everyone’s just like “fine”.

    (Image credit: the-lees)

  1. 2.

    They live for an unbelievably long time

    This shark is officially the new best animal

    Greenland sharks have the longest lifespan of any vertebrate species. It’s extremely hard to work out the actual lifespan of something like a shark, but tests performed by very smart men in coats on 80 different Greenland sharks put the oldest one’s age at 392 ± 120 years: literally, 392 years give or take 120. This thing could have been anything between 272 and 512 years old. This shark, had it been so inclined, could have picked up release day copies of Beethoven’s Fifth AND ‘A Fifth of Beethoven’ by Walter Murphy and then enjoyed mixing it with ‘Welcome to Jamrock’ in DJ Hero 2, which it would definitely have been able to do because you can more or less DJ with shark fins.

    (Image credit: noaaphotolib)

  2. 3.

    They hit sexual maturity at 150 years old

    This shark is officially the new best animal 5

    Just imagine an orgasm that you’d waited a century and a half for. Like a jet engine sneezing. Like a nuclear explosion contained inside a diamond. Like the Earth shooting out its core like a cannon. We can’t be sure, but we’re pretty confident that the Greenland shark’s entire genetic makeup gets rewritten every time it cums.

    (Image credit: rafimages)

  3. 4.

    Their flesh is poisonous, but people try and eat them anyway

    This shark is officially the new best animal 3

    First off, being poisonous is very rad. There’s no such thing as a poisonous animal that isn’t at least cool enough to survive the PR nightmare of nearly murdering Homer Simpson. But beyond that, there’s not a lot that’s cooler than being poisonous but also so delicious that people are willing to bury you underground for six weeks and then hang you up for several months before eating you. You’re so delicious that you’ve driven chefs to the outer limits of culinary madness.

    (Image credit: estraire)

  4. 5.

    They eat truly baffling things

    This shark is officially the new best animal 4

    Based on stomach contents, scientists have sussed that Greenland sharks eat fish, eels and other, smaller sharks. But that’s in general. The full list of things found in their stomachs have included bits of seals, polar bears(???) and whole host of animals that they have no business even meeting, including horses, moose and reindeer. One shark with a presumably-deadened gag reflex was found with an entire reindeer body in its stomach. The thought of an entire reindeer inside another animal’s body has struck me with a psychic terror that I’ll take to my welcoming grave.

    Somehow, no one’s ever seen one of these things hunt. So, to summarize: a Greenland shark, with a toxic-body, brimming o’er with jizz like a fishy Creme Egg, once ate an entire reindeer so subtly that no one noticed. Bam. Best animal. 

    (Image credit: oddwick)

    (Main image credit: Moon M)