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4 Of The Oldest Living Animals (That Are Still Alive Today)

Updated on September 10, 2014


There are many creatures that are said to be the oldest of their species. Such claims are sometimes hard to verify. Records are lost and estimations can be erroneously skewed. Therefore, the animals presented here are ones that are the most verified claimants.

Jonathan the Tortoise in 2007.
Jonathan the Tortoise in 2007. | Source
Jonathan in 2010.
Jonathan in 2010. | Source

Jonathan the Tortoise

At 182 years old, Jonathan may very well be the oldest living land animal in the world. Residing on the island of Saint Helena, this Seychelles Giant Tortoise has lived through over 30 terms of governorship and out-lived many of his custodians. A photograph taken in the early 1900s shows a tortoise believed to be Jonathan already at his full adult size. Since Seychelles Tortoises take almost 50 years to reach full-size, this was used to calculate his age. Attempts at breeding offspring from Jonathan have been unsuccessful and caretakers at Plantation House, where he is housed, already have plans in place for when he will pass away. For now, however, Jonathan appears rather healthy and spry for a blind super-centenarian.

Granny in 2011.
Granny in 2011. | Source

Granny the Orca

The oldest known orca alive today is "Granny" at 103 years young! Easily spotted by the unique markings near and on her dorsal fin, Granny was first captured in the 1960s by fishers looking for specimens for water parks. She was deemed too old and released back into the wild, where she has been tracked ever since. The typical life span of a wild orca is around 60 to 80 years, so this ol' girl has definitely surprised the researchers who track her. She was most recently spotted on Mother's Day of 2014, looking just as full of pep as ever!

Cookie in 2008.
Cookie in 2008. | Source

Cookie the Cockatoo

Cookie is an 81 year-old Major Mitchell's cockatoo (the oldest of his kind by a huge margin), currently residing at the Brookefield Zoo in Illinois. He arrived at the zoo for its grand opening back in 1934. He was just a 1 year-old then. Today, Cookie the Cockatoo is the only surviving member of the zoo's original collection. He was on display until 2009, when age-related ailments such as arthritis made it difficult for him to deal with the stresses of public exhibition. Now he lives happily retired, in the Keeper's office. He does make occasional appearances, however, especially for his birthday celebrations.

Wisdom in 2011.
Wisdom in 2011. | Source

Wisdom the Albatross

At 63 years old, Wisdom the Leysan Albatross is showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, she's still hatching eggs! Her most recent young hatched in February of 2014. As the oldest known bird in the wild, Wisdom has lived through countless major events, including surviving the Japanese tsunami of 2011. Wisdom's longevity has helped scientists at the Midway Atoll learn a great deal about the feeding habits of her kind in relation the the pollution in the oceans. She's had to fly more and more miles in order to find healthy food for her young. However, this hasn't stopped her from raising over 30 hatch-lings in her lifetime!

Discover More:

The Oldest Living Things in the World
The Oldest Living Things in the World
Some of the oldest living things on the planet are actually trees and moss! This awe-inspiring book contains breathtaking photos and intriguing essays about the oldest living things in the world.

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