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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.
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.