Ever wondered who the longest living animals are?
From quahogs and geoducks to tortoises and whales, these ancient critters have long outlived any humans and most other species, too:
1. The Ocean Quahog
Image via Hans Hillewaert, wikicommons
Exploited commercially for their meat, the ocean quahog have been known to live on average to an incredible 400 years old. The dark concentric rings that decorate their shells have been interpreted by researchers as annual marks and can be used in the same way as those found inside trees to estimate age. Residing between 35 and 1,300 ft underwater, the oldest recorded quahog was an astonishing 507 years old.
2. Bowhead Whales
Image via David G. Stanton, wikicommons
The bowhead whale, also known as the Arctic whale, is the longest living mammal on Earth with the oldest known bowhead given an estimated age of anywhere between 177-245 years old. Currently listed as endangered, these magnificent creatures don’t migrate like other whales, instead preferring to live entirely in the fertile Arctic and sub-Arctic waters.
3. Koi Fish
Image via Stan Shebs, wikicommons
Koi fish are a domesticated version of the common carp kept for decorative and ornamental purposes in water gardens and artificial rock pools. Calculating the age of a fish is also done in the same way as trees, by examining the growth rings found on their scales. This technique was used to estimate the age of the world’s oldest koi named Hanako (meaning flower maid) who passed away at 226 years old.
4. The Geoduck
Image via PDH, wikicommons
Native to the west coast of North America, the geoduck is one of the largest clams in the whole world as well as the longest living animal of its kind, with the oldest recorded specimen being 168 years old. Growing to more than one meter in length, recent demands from Asian markets for these highly profitable sea creatures has made poaching a huge problem, and the clams are now being farmed as well as being harvested in the wild.
Image via Yotcmdr, wikicommons
Tortoises are considered to be the longest living vertebrates on the planet. A Galapagos tortoise named Harriet was one of the their oldest representatives, living to the ripe old age of 175 years. Adwaita, a giant tortoise living on India, was rumored to have died at 250 years old. making him the oldest known tortoise on record.
6. Antarctic Sponge
Image via Hannes Grobe, wikicommons
Living deep in the depths of the Antarctic Ocean, the Antarctic sponge has an unbelievable estimated lifespan of 1,550 years old. This immobile creature has an exceptionally slow growth rate which can possibly be attributed to the drastically low temperatures of its ocean environment.
Image via Knutschie, wikicommons
Referred to as living dinosaurs, the two remaining species of the tuatara are thought to be the only surviving members of its order, which flourished 200 million years ago. They are also among the oldest vertebrates on Earth with a life span of between 100 to 200 years.
8. Turritopsis Jellyfish
Image via Chris Kirkman, wikicommons
Astoundingly, the tiny turritopsis species of jellyfish, which is only the size of a human pinky nail when fully developed, has the unique ability to transform back into its younger self. This process can then be repeated again and again indefinitely, meaning they have no natural limit to their life span. As they are literally able to bypass death, these jellyfish may be the only animals on the planet to be considered immortal.
Do you know of any other ancient animals? If so, be sure to let us know in the comments below.
Photo Credit: Zanthia
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