Secrets of the Desert: 100-Year-Old Fish Unlocking Aging Mysteries

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In a startling revelation, a recent study unveils some of the world's oldest animals hidden in an unexpected place – the fishes of the Arizona desert.

Researchers have uncovered an exceptional group of fish within the Ictiobus genus, known as buffalofishes, with lifespans exceeding 100 years.

This groundbreaking discovery could revolutionize aging studies across various disciplines, from gerontology to vertebrate senescence.

Native to Minnesota, the buffalofishes species include bigmouth buffalo, smallmouth buffalo, and black buffalo, often misidentified and underprotected.

The study, led by Dr. Alec Lackmann from the University of Minnesota Duluth, involved scientists from North Dakota State University and dedicated conservation anglers.

Dr. Lackmann's research extends the maximum age of bigmouth buffalo to over 100 years, achieved through a refined aging technique using otoliths or earstones.

Otoliths, tiny stone-like structures in fish, grow with each passing year, allowing scientists to accurately determine a fish's age by counting these layers.

Buffalofishes native to central North America were stocked in Apache Lake, Arizona, in 1918. Recent angling revealed their incredible ages exceeding a century.

The three different buffalofish species in Apache Lake represent some of the world's longest-lived freshwater fish, a phenomenon yet to be found elsewhere.

The discovery opens doors for DNA, physiology, and disease-fighting studies on these long-lived species, with Apache Lake becoming a hub for groundbreaking scientific research.

These remarkable fish species offer a window into the secrets of longevity, paving the way for transformative discoveries in the field of gerontology and beyond.