An average human life, compared to the lifespan of a certain organism, can barely hold a candle. While humans can age up to 80 years, some creatures on the Earth would live for a couple of thousand years.
According to WHO (World Health Organization), experts are trying to uncover the secrets behind some animals’ longevity in order to use it in the extension of the human lifetime. We made you a list of a couple of the most long living animals: Number 6 will blow your mind!
- Bowhead Whales: (200 Years Old)
In the past, it was quite a challenge to determine the exact age of a bowhead, since it is less obvious than life history factors such as body length. But it was estimated that Bowhead whales could live up to 100 years, based on the stone harpoon tips that have been discovered inside harvested Bowhead whales.
However, with new techniques allowing more accurate results, studies have shown that these creatures’ age can go beyond 200 years. This can be explained by their genes’ capability to restore damaged DNA. Bowhead whales become sexually mature around the age of 25, with an entire body length ranging from 35 to 45 feet. While their mating activity is followed year round, most conceptions typically arise in early spring or late winter.
- Shortraker Rockfish: (Two Centuries Old)
Shortraker rockfishes are a sort of marine ray-finned fish species which belong to the subfamily called “Sebastinae” and can be found in the northern Pacific Ocean.
A man from Seattle caught a 41-inch-long shortraker rockfish that weighs 39 pounds, and is presumably over two centuries old. If that is indeed its age, this fish is the oldest of its species ever captured. The average lifespan of a Shortraker rockfish is thought to be around 120 years, putting them in second place below the Rougheye species that have a lifespan estimated by 140 years.
This qualifies the rockfish as one of the world’s oldest living fish, among other types of long-living fish such as the sturgeon, a fish found in North America that can live beyond a century.
- The Freshwater Pearl Mussel: (250 Years Old)
The eastern pearl shell, or also called freshwater pearl mussel, is located in European streams and rivers. Its population spreads from Norway to Spain, passing by the United Kingdom and Scotland, not to mention North America, with concentrations in the United States as well as Eastern Canada.
Freshwater pearl mussels are a long-lasting species. They can age for around 86 to 102 years, depending on the quality of water and other factors in the environment, and even up to 280 a freshwater pearl mussel that has been discovered and dubbed the world’s oldest fish so far. But not all pearl mussels can live past their first year as most are carried away by the stream or die young because of poor living conditions.
- Greenland Shark: >> (272 Years Old)
The Greenland shark estimate population is in decrease, making it an “almost endangered” animal. It is found in North Atlantic and the Arctic at depths varying from 4,000 to beyond 7,000 feet. This shark can slowly reach 8 to 14 feet in growth during adulthood while feeding on an array of birds and fish. An eye-lens radiocarbon dating study shows that a Greenland shark’s minimum life span is 272 years while the maximum is 392 years. This makes it the longest-living vertebrate on record so far.
- Tubeworm: >> (300 Years Old)
Apparently, the tubeworm called Escarpia laminate can live up to 300 years in an optimal environment that is clear of predators and contains enough food, and even 3 times that period or older! It lives in groups of five to plus 200 tubeworms clustered around cold vents below sea level at a depth from 1000 to 3300 meters, where multiple types of worms and other creatures such as mussels, crabs, clams, Brittle Stars, reside as well.
- Ocean Quahog Clams : >> (500 Years Old) + One Born In 1499
Ocean Quahog Clams are found in the North Atlantic Ocean. This saltwater species can even outlive another previously mentioned creature on this list, which is the freshwater pearl mussel. One ocean quahog clam, dubbed “The Ming clam”, and collected in 2006 from a coast in Iceland, is 507 years old. Its name is a reference to the Ming Dynasty, which controlled China during the year the clam was born in: 1499.
- Deep-Sea Corals: >> (4,000 Years Old)
According to researchers from the University of California, Santa Cruz Lawrence, and Livermore National Laboratory, Stanford University, there are two kinds of Hawaiian deep-sea corals that are way older than they were thought to be. Stewart Fallon and Tom Guilderson, 2 researchers in LLNL, have used radiocarbon dating to count the ages of gold and black corals, with the help of the Lab’s Center for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry. The eldest of the two species were 2,740 and 4,270 years old consecutively. This makes the deep-water black coral, dating back to beyond 4,000 years, the oldest living skeletal-accreting marine creature.
- Glass Sponges : >> (11,000 Years Old)
Same as corals, sponges live in colonies that can age for thousands of years, and Glass sponges belong to a list of the world’s longest-living sponges. They are characterized with glass-like skeletons, and are often found in the deep ocean. A study found that Monorhaphis chuni, a glass sponge, is around 11,000 years old, and some sponge species can even age much more than that!
- Turritopsis Dohrnii Jellyfish: ∞
Although they look transparent and small, these animals are anything but fragile! When exposed to famine or even mere physical harm, they would revert in the development phase, and turn back into polyps. Next, the now reborn polyps would discharge medusae that are genetically identical to the damaged adult jellyfish, making them practically immortal; that is of course not taking into account other causes of death such as being eaten by other fish or captured out of water.
- Hydra: ≈ (Immortal)
Named after a serpent from Greek mythology that grows two new heads for each one it loses, the Hydra sure lives up to its name, serving as regenerative biologists’ go-to model organism, to dig for biological immortality within the jellyfish-like creature’s DNA. It is a tiny freshwater invertebrate able to renew its stem cells on a constant level and shows no sign of ageing when kept on isolation and away from predators. It can easily survive dismemberment as well, by regenerating its lost body parts. The only way a Hydra would die is when it is exposed to extreme weather, animal threat, and sickness outside the lab.
We hope you enjoyed reading this article, and leaving you with the following quote:
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.” Genesis