Are Sharks Really Older Than the North Star? | Summary and Q&A

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January 6, 2024
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Are Sharks Really Older Than the North Star?

TL;DR

Sharks are extremely old, but the claim that they are older than Polaris, the North Star, may only be partially true. Scientists are still uncertain about the ages of the stars in the Polaris trinary system, and whether they are older or younger than sharks.

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Questions & Answers

Q: How do scientists determine the age of sharks?

Scientists determine the age of sharks through various methods, including studying fossil records, estimating their evolutionary timeline through DNA comparison, and examining the longevity of the shark species.

Q: What evidence supports the claim that sharks are older than Polaris?

Fossilized shark teeth and skeletons found in rocks dating back to the Devonian period, over 380 million years ago, provide evidence of the ancient existence of sharks on Earth.

Q: Why is there uncertainty about the ages of the stars in the Polaris trinary system?

The ages of the stars in the Polaris trinary system, specifically Polaris Aa and Polaris B, differ significantly. The exact ages cannot be determined accurately due to challenges in measuring the distance from Earth and the overall brightness of the stars.

Q: What are the possible explanations for the age gap between Polaris Aa and Polaris B?

Scientists have proposed several hypotheses, including the possibility that Polaris A and B were two separate systems that later found each other in deep space or that one of the Polaris stars is not as it seems, possibly due to stellar merger or misinterpretation.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Sharks have existed on Earth for millions of years, with fossil records dating back as far as 380 million years ago.

  • By comparing the DNA of modern sharks to their relatives, scientists can estimate their evolutionary timeline, confirming that sharks are indeed ancient creatures.

  • Polaris, the North Star, is a trinary system composed of three stars. However, the ages of the stars in this system differ significantly, creating uncertainty about the claim that sharks are older than Polaris.

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