Deep in the depths of the Arctic Ocean, there lives a bizarre creature. This creature can grow 21 feet long (the same size as an adult great white shark!), and can weigh 2,000 pounds. This monster of the deep is the Greenland Shark. Although this massive creature seems like a monster, humans actually rarely come in contact with it, making this shark even more elusive. Surprisingly, this shark is actually very important, let’s find out why.Even though the Greenland shark sounds like a horrible beast, one could even say it looks kind of cute. This shark sports a round, tubular body, like a torpedo. Like I mentioned earlier, the Greenland shark is massive, though in appearance it looks very innocent. One part of it’s innocent look is the fact that it has unusually small fins in proportion to the rest of its body, as well as a short wide tail that is capable of short acceleration bursts. Besides short fins, the Greenland shark also has very diverse coloring. The body can be slate grey, purplish grey, violet, brown or even black. Individual sharks can often be identified by the varied patterns on their sides, more common patterns include a purple tint, white spots, or dark bands. These sharks are known to swim at depths of 600 to 2,400 feet during the summer. Because these sharks live at depths where there is little light, they have small eyes that contain spiracles above and behind them. Spiracles are small respiratory openings, or pores, that help an animal to breathe. Of course, we can’t talk about a shark without mentioning its teeth. The Greenland shark’s teeth are interesting because they are dissimilar. Unlike human teeth, which are relatively the same between the top and bottom jaw, the Greenland shark’s top and bottom teeth are different. The Greenland shark’s top teeth are slender, pointy, and not very large. Whereas the bottom teeth are substantially larger than the top, broader, and smoother. The Greenland shark is quite the peculiar looking shark.Saying the Greenland Shark is not a picky eater would be an understatement, it will eat literally anything! The Greenland shark’s menu is huge, some of the few items it eats includes Seals, Moose, Elk, Reindeer, and even huge Polar Bears! So how can the Greenland shark hunt and eat these massive creatures? Through Their “Work Smarter, Not harder” hunting technique. Unlike most sharks, who hunt their prey, the Greenland shark waits for its prey to come to it, mostly because of the fact that it has the slowest recorded tail beat from extension to extension, and cruises at a little under 1 mph. One example of this is how it hunts seals. The Arctic seal sleeps on the water, not on ice, so that it’s less susceptible to polar bear attacks. The Greenland shark takes advantage of this and sneaks up on unsuspecting sleeping seals. I talked about how the Greenland shark’s teeth are dissimilar. Well, dissimilar teeth make for a very interesting biting mechanic. When the Greenland shark attacks prey, its top teeth hold the prey in place, making sure that the prey does not move and cannot escape. While its holding the prey in place, it’s bottom teeth simultaneously grind the prey’s flesh into bite sized chunks. Scary right! The Greenland shark is truly the apex predator of the Arctic Ocean. You may be asking “Does the Greenland shark benefit Humans?” Well, that brings me to why they are important. The Greenland Shark is the longest living vertebrate on earth, at about 400 years old. Which means that their heart keeps beating for all those years. So, how do they not develop human heart diseases such as fibrosis? And if they live so long, how do they not get cancer? If you didn’t know, sharks get cancer just like humans do, but the Greenland shark resists it. How? Scientists are trying to answer these questions. If we unlock the Greenland shark’s longevity secrets, we could use them to make humans live longer, and possibly find a cure for cancer. Wouldn’t that be cool!The Greenland shark is truly a wonder of the Arctic Ocean, even with its massive appearance, insane appetite, and longevity secrets. It truly is an ice torpedo.