The Shawano Sturgeon has lived through a lot -- the tail end of reconstruction, the Spanish-American War, World War I, Hitler, The Beatles, Justin Bieber.
Not only has she outlived every human currently on the face of the earth, but she's still fertile! The Wisconsin DNR discovered the record-setting fish while she was laying more than 30 pounds of eggs in the Wolf River near Shawano on Tuesday.
The Shawano Sturgeon's tale of the tape -- 7'3" long, 240 pounds, 125 years old. Sounds like a fearsome NBA center, give or take 100 years of age.
Here's a photo of proud DNR employees posing with the fish:
The Shawano Sturgeon is by far the largest and oldest ever found in Wisconsin, weighing about 30 pounds more than a sturgeon found in Lake Winnebago a couple years ago.
Said Wisconsin DNR sturgeon biologist Ron Bruch: "I knew they were out there and I thought, 'We finally got one of these massive, nuclear submarine-type sturgeon.'"
Bruch put together a timeline of the Shawano Sturgeon's life for Green Bay's NBC 26. Here it is (with some slight modifications):
1887 - Sturgeon is hatched. Grover Cleveland is U.S. president and Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show opens in London.
1914 - The fish is 27 years old and makes first spawning run. Later that year events in Europe spark the beginning of World War I.
1915 - Wisconsin enacts a statewide closure on sturgeon harvest to protect the population.
1932 - The fish is 45 years old. The state holds the first modern spearing season on Lake Winnebago. Amelia Earhart becomes first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic.
1945 - In its 58th year, the fish makes its eighth spawning run. World War II ends.
1969 - The fish is 82 years old and has lived through 38 spearing seasons on Lake Winnebago and 10 seasons on the Upriver Lakes. Neil Armstrong walks on the moon.
1983 -- Yours truly is born as the Shawano Sturgeon closes in on its 100th birthday.
1990 - The Soviet Union breaks up. The Shawano Sturgeon, meanwhile, reminisces about the days of Czar Nicholas II.
2012 - The fish is 125 years old and while making its 25th spawning run is captured by DNR crews at the Shawano dam.
Since the typical life expectancy of a sturgeon is similar to that of a typical human (about 75 years), we're at a loss trying to make sense of the Shawano fish's ridiculously old age. And she must be a smart fish, seeing as how she's been able to avoid anglers' lures for more than a century's worth of fishing seasons. What wisdom she must have... if only sturgeon could communicate with humans, the Shawano Sturgeon could certainly teach us a lesson or two.
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