8 Animals Older Than Your Grandma

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.

5. Tortoises

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.

7. Tuatara

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

89 comments

Jim Ven
Jim Venabout a year ago

thanks for the article.

Carrie-Anne Brown

thanks for sharing :)

Kathy Johnson
Kathy Johnson2 years ago

love it

Mark Donner
Mark Donner2 years ago

Ironically and tragically millions of humans who don't deserve one year of their own life span are so jealous of these superior animals that they dedicate themselves to destroying them.

Mary L.
Mary L.2 years ago

Thanks for sharing knowledge.

Jeannet Bertelink

very interesting

Mandy H.
Mandy H.2 years ago

I didn't know that koi live so long and I think it's amazing that the sponge can live for so long in such a hostile temperature. Mind you I don't think I'd want to live as long as any of those animals, the dream for immortality is completely baffling to me.
Thanks for sharing this, it was very interesting.

Sonia Minwer Barakat Requ

Great article with amazing animals,thanks for sharing

Sanja Maksimovic
Past Member 2 years ago

thanks

Gita Sasi Dharan
Gita Sasi Dharan2 years ago

Very interesting and informative article. Thank you.