Balaena mysticetus has a remarkable lifespan. The average age of animals captured during whaling is estimated at 60 to 70 years old, based on examination of changes in the nucleus of the eye over time. However, several individuals have been discovered with ancient ivory and stone harpoon heads in their flesh and examination of their eye nucleus has resulted in estimated lifespans up to 200 years (George et al. 1999), making bowhead whales the longest lived mammalian species. There is little knowlege of diseases in B. mysticetus that would effect the average lifespan (Stover 2001).
Status: wild: 200 (high) years.
Status: wild: 0.01 to 0.02 years.
- Stover, D. 2001. Science and Technology: The Wisest Whale of the Sea. Popular Science, 258(4): 23.