World's oldest living animals in 2010

People are always interested in records. The biggest, the smallest, the tallest, the largest, the smelliest, the wettest and so on. This is a list of some of the oldest animals with whom we currently share our planet. They have been here a lot longer than you or I and some may possibly be here a good deal after we have gone.

None of them has fought a war, argued over politics or religion. None of them has polluted the planet or taken from it more than its fair share. They are just peacefully doing their thing and getting on with life.

This is not an extensive list. I have not included the oldest fish, frog or flea. This is about the big boys and girls. The very oldest.

Sad to think that some would eat our elders.

Quahogs

Photo by: http://www.flickr.com/photos/coollibrarian/208316181/
Photo by: http://www.flickr.com/photos/coollibrarian/208316181/

A specimen of the Epibenthic Sponge (Cinachyra antarctica) has been found to be over 1,550 years old.

The Ocean Quahog (Arctica islandica) is a North Atlantic mollusk which is known to live for more than 400 years. One specimen as estimated to be around 410 years old after it was killed and dissected.

Some of the Black and Gold Coral colonies (colonial organisms) off the coasts of Hawaii are estimated to be as old as 4000 years!

‘Jonathon’ a tortoise (Dipsochelys hololissa) which originated from the Seychelles who now lives on St Helena Island in the South Atlantic is believed to be in the region of 178 years old. He was photographed in 1900 and estimated to be about 70 years old at the time and so there is little doubt that he is a very old animal. The oldest known tortoise reached 189 years of age so if he is lucky ‘Jonathon’ has a few years to go yet.

Perhaps it is Jonathon

Bowhead Whales (Balaena mysticetus) are the oldest known mammals. Evidence suggests that some of these are as old as two hundred years.

Bowhead Whale Song

Other old animals include Koi, Sea Urchins, and others but these are just youngsters compared to the above.

Put it in Perspective

The Coral colonies started some 4000 years ago - That was 2000 years before Christ and mankind was just moving into the Bronze Age. Rice was being cultivated in Asia and the Sahara was just being born. The Alphabet was being developed. The Peruvians were building temples. For the record there were NO dinosaurs back then.

When the sponge first appeared on our planet some 1,500 years ago Britain was entering into the period known as The Dark Ages. The Mayan civilisation was booming. Earth was hit by a shower of meteorites.

400 years ago when our Quahog Clam first saw the light of day - Galileo was inventing the telescope. Columbus had not yet 'discovered' America.

200 Years ago when the Bowhead Whale was just a baby - Chopin was born. Argentina declared independence from Spain. The US annexed Western Florida.

178 years ago when Jonathon was hatching from an egg - Greece became an independent republic. Charles Darwin was voyaging on the Beagle.

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Comments 34 comments

Sandyspider profile image

Sandyspider 6 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

Interesting hub.


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

Wow, that was a great research and thank you for this very interesting hub.


Peter Dickinson profile image

Peter Dickinson 6 years ago from South East Asia Author

Thank You Sandyspider and Hello hello


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 6 years ago

Nice Hub, Peter.


Peter Dickinson profile image

Peter Dickinson 6 years ago from South East Asia Author

Thanks Ralph. Nice of you to stop by.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago

Wow! This is a very cool Hub. I enjoyed the education. Thanks!


Peter Dickinson profile image

Peter Dickinson 6 years ago from South East Asia Author

Thank You James.


i scribble 6 years ago

Didn't know whales could live that long. Hard to believe any have survived that long since they are constantly under siege by our own species. good topic with good content.


Peter Dickinson profile image

Peter Dickinson 6 years ago from South East Asia Author

i scribble - thanks for the visit. The ages of the whales have been determined by a variety of means which include the recovery of harpoons from the whales bodies of a design used some 200 years ago. Horrible that anyone should wish to kill them today.


theherbivorehippi profile image

theherbivorehippi 6 years ago from Holly, MI

Awesome hub!! I just wrote an article for an employer about various marine life and it is fascinating how long these creatures can live. Sadly, a good majority of them when they are dying are from plastic consumption. There was a study of autopsies done and over 40% of the turtles, whales, platypus etc died from plastic bags in their intestines because it can't be digested and then eventually they can't eat other food if they eat enough plastic so they starve to death. It makes you wonder how long these animals could really live without human pollution and interference?! Very well written hub with great information!


Peter Dickinson profile image

Peter Dickinson 6 years ago from South East Asia Author

theherbivorehippi - Plastic is a big killer. As the unfortunate turtles feed largely on jellyfish it is an easy mistake to make.

Not just sea creatures either. I have seen dozens of gazelles and antelope which died from plastic impaction. A slow but a steady killer. Thanks for stopping by.


ntweisen profile image

ntweisen 6 years ago

Very interesting hub!


Peter Dickinson profile image

Peter Dickinson 6 years ago from South East Asia Author

ntweisen - Thank You


Lee B profile image

Lee B 6 years ago from New Mexico

I've always hated plastic for aesthetic reasons; now I just hate it altogether! This was fascinating information. Listening to the song of the Bowhead Whale was the best part, though.


Peter Dickinson profile image

Peter Dickinson 6 years ago from South East Asia Author

Lee B - Plastic is here forever even if we stop manufacturing and using it today. It just never goes away. Sad.


CMHypno profile image

CMHypno 6 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

Fascinating Hub on long-lived animals, Peter. I had no idea that Bowhead Whales lived as long as 200 years. The stromatalites in Western Australia are pretty ancient as well.


Peter Dickinson profile image

Peter Dickinson 6 years ago from South East Asia Author

CMHypno - There are some who say that the Bowheads live much longer. Maybe we already killed all the old ones.

The stromatalites are an extremely ancient species and as such on this planet longer than any other species which still lives today. However as to the life span of each individual (there are many species) I would not like to hazard a guess.


elayne001 profile image

elayne001 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains

Don't know what took me so long to find you here on Hubpages. You have lots to share and I enjoy reading about your travels and wisdom. I live in Hawaii near where we see turtles and whales quite often. Thanks.


Peter Dickinson profile image

Peter Dickinson 6 years ago from South East Asia Author

Thank you elayne001 for your kind words. I dreamed of visiting Hawaii as a child. Never made it. Now I am content where I am, wherever it is. Mind you the whale and turtle watching is tempting.


Mamelody profile image

Mamelody 6 years ago

This is really interesting.. I never knew there were animals called quahogs! thanks for letting me learn something new today xx


Peter Dickinson profile image

Peter Dickinson 6 years ago from South East Asia Author

Mamelody - there are some really odd names out there. I think Quahog is great...make me think of pigs...but so very far removed. Thanks for reading.


the pink umbrella profile image

the pink umbrella 6 years ago from the darkened forest deep within me.

Wow. i love love love animals, and find it so interesting that there are some species out there that live so long. I think what interests people about the long life another being is that it is longer than our own!


Peter Dickinson profile image

Peter Dickinson 6 years ago from South East Asia Author

the pink umbrella - Thanks for the comment. I think what I find quite disturbing is the killing, and sometimes eating, a creature much older than ourselves.


pedrog profile image

pedrog 6 years ago

Love to read this hub, thanks for the information.


Peter Dickinson profile image

Peter Dickinson 6 years ago from South East Asia Author

pedrog - thank you for reading.


moncrieff profile image

moncrieff 6 years ago from New York, NY

I've always wondered what is the oldest living creature on this planet. I knew about the turtles but didn't expect whales to live that long. So the logic would be that the colder the climate, the longer one may live (only the Hawaiian corals betray that). Thanks for sharing.


Peter Dickinson profile image

Peter Dickinson 6 years ago from South East Asia Author

moncrieff - You may have a point although the whales travel huge distances through warm and cold. I have a sort of gut feeling that we haven't discovered the oldest living creature yet. It probably will be from a very cold deep ocean.


Adebayo Adeyemo 6 years ago

The Oldest living pet in the world is the Tortoise called ALAGBA in Ogbomosho town, Oyo state, Nigeria. The said Tortoise has lived for 324 years as at 2010 and still alive. Go to Ogbomoso Palace and check the legend tortoise.


Peter Dickinson profile image

Peter Dickinson 6 years ago from South East Asia Author

Adebayo Adeyemo - Thank you for this interesting piece of information. I will investigate.


Rebecca E. profile image

Rebecca E. 5 years ago from Canada

Peter-- did I mention I love your hubs? As always very interesting, and as a bonus my kids loved this, four thumbs way way way up!


Peter Dickinson profile image

Peter Dickinson 5 years ago from South East Asia Author

Thank you Rebecca. Much appreciated.


Ben Santana profile image

Ben Santana 4 years ago from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Great and Educational as always. The Bowhead Whale living beyond 200 years. Wow. And those Quahog clams, 405 years, no way. Fascinating. And we have not come to shrubs and trees yet.


Peter Dickinson profile image

Peter Dickinson 4 years ago from South East Asia Author

Thanks Ben. I like clams but I could never eat anything older than ten years or so. I feel really sorry for some lobsters which end up on the plates of those with money and no second thoughts.


GetitScene profile image

GetitScene 3 years ago from The High Seas

Very interesting and a topic I've often thought about.

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