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Shedd Aquarium’s Australian Lungfish Granddad Named World’s Oldest Aquarium Fish

Granddad the lungfish was 109 years old at the time of his death, researchers recently shared. They hope their research can help protect the species in the wild.

The elderly lungfish, Granddad, swims through his tank at Shedd Aquarium prior to his death in 2017.
Provided/Shedd Aquarium
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CHICAGO — The Shedd Aquarium had the world’s oldest aquarium fish — a 109-year-old Australian lungfish named Granddad, new research has shown.

Granddad died in 2017 after 84 years at the Shedd, but research that revealed his age was published this month. More than 104 million guests visited him over his decades at the Shedd, according to an aquarium news release.

Researchers uncovered Granddad’s age by examining his DNA with a specialized aging clock, according to the Shedd. Before that, the oldest confirmed age of a wild lungfish was just 77 years.

The researchers have now deemed lungfish the longest-living freshwater sub-tropical fish species in the world, according to the study.

Australian lungfish are impacted by many threats, including human activity, and the species is classified as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, according to the Shedd.

Scientists hope their research about how old lungfish can get can help with conservation efforts, according to the news release.

“This research exemplifies one of the important contributions that public aquariums and zoos like Shedd can make to both scientific research and conservation efforts, while raising public awareness by revealing new biological insights into the species,” David Roberts, a lead author on the study and a scientist, said in a news release. “Our hope is this does not end with the research, but further inform management actions and future policy for conservation of lungfish and freshwater biodiversity overall.”

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