Lifespan, longevity, and ageing
Maximum longevity: 211 years (wild) Observations: These animals exhibit slow growth and high survival. Growth may be faster in females than in males, and it slows down markedly at around 40-50 years of age. Sexual maturity is probably reached at age 20-25. Using an indirect method for age estimation based on aspartic acid racemization, the bowhead whale has been recorded as the longest-lived mammal thanks to one male estimated to be 211 years-old. The same study found three other male specimens estimated to be over 100 years of age. Very few obvious signs of pathology were found in old bowheads. The 211 year-old specimen was reported to appear old with though meat and blubber. One of the centenarian males exhibited a spondylitic lesion on the vertebra. Reproductive senescence has not been reported, though detailed studies are lacking (George et al. 1999).