Mysterious ancient shark ‘born when Henry VIII was King’ washes up on UK beach

The body of a rare shark that could have been born during the reign of King Henry VIII washed up off the coast of Cornwall at the weekend.

The Greenland shark, which has a lifespan of between 250 and 500 years, was spotted by a walker on a beach at Newlyn Harbour near Penzance, on March 13 sparking an urgent appeal for its recovery.

Cornwall Wildlife Trust staff were contacted and arrived on the beach within an hour, but the tide had come in and washed the shark's body back out to sea.

It wasn't recovered until Wednesday (March 16) when a crewmember from tourist firm Mermaid Pleasure Trips found the animal and took it ashore.

Experts estimate the shark could have been born during Henry VIII's time as King, from 1509 to 1547 – but this is yet to be confirmed by a post-mortem examination by the Marine Strandings Network.

The findings will be used in an investigation into the strandings of sea mammals, which also include dolphins and whales.

But in the meantime, the Cornwall Wildlife Trust's Marine Strandings Network thanked the crew for the recovery.

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Their statement said: "We are absolutely delighted to update you that the superb crew from Mermaid Pleasure Trips, Penzance, Trev and Kingsley, this evening found and brought ashore the dead Greenland shark which previously stranded on Sunday and then washed back out to sea.

"Well well done Trev and Kingsley you complete legends!"

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Greenland sharks are native to the Arctic and North Atlantic Oceans but can be found in deep waters around the UK.

The Marine Conservation Society says it is very rare for humans to come across them in British waters.

There has only been one other Greenland shark found in UK waters, which was another dead body found in 2013.

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