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World’s Oldest Living Species Found in Scotland

The tadpole shrimp Triops cancriformis has been found in the Caerlaverock nature reserve in Dumfriesshire, Scotland. It is considered to be possibly the oldest living species in the world, because it has remained nearly unchanged for an estimated 220 million years. (Another reference states tadpole shrimp may have been living for 300 million years.)

Scientist Larry Griffin who has studied the rare shrimp, said, “Triops matures rapidly and produces hundreds of eggs in just a couple of weeks. The pond they live in may dry out, but the eggs can survive in the mud for many years.”

Not only are the shrimp unique for having survived several major extinctions, they also can  have both male and female reproductive parts so just one can generate a new colony. Tadpole shrimp live in seasonal, freshwater ponds. Their eggs are very tough. They can resist high temperatures (almost boiling), dryness and even consumption by birds. It is thought they also can remain in a dormant state for years, or even centuries until favorable conditions occur, and then they hatch. Tadpole shrimp have outlived dinosaurs, trilobites and mammoths. They are endangered and protected by law in Scotland.

Tadpole Shrimp Video

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9:13AM PDT on Aug 17, 2010

Bugs Rock !

8:26AM PDT on Aug 12, 2010

If the tadpole shrimp lives in the sea, and may be as old as 300million years, there is another seacreature that is judged to be up to 350million years old.
Now 50million years may not be an enormous number to scientists I thought I would put the record straight.
The "coelacanth" first found off the coast of East London in South Africa, is believed to be 350million years old.
That would make it the oldest species living in the ocean!

5:21PM PDT on Aug 5, 2010

Very interesting little creature that has lasted the true test of time.May it continue!!

12:08PM PDT on Aug 5, 2010

Fascinating. Nature is so marvelous. We would be better off & leave a better world to our children if only we'd let it show it's beauty and stop distroying it.

5:28AM PDT on Aug 5, 2010

I hope they do keep them protected. What a find. Thanks.

12:19AM PDT on Aug 5, 2010

Why are they endangered now after surviving so long?

7:13PM PDT on Aug 3, 2010

Thanks. Nature never ceases to amaze and delight.

1:51PM PDT on Aug 3, 2010

thank you never knew that

8:37AM PDT on Aug 3, 2010

They remind me of horseshoe crabs....

6:58AM PDT on Aug 3, 2010

Our amazing nature. Never stops surprising us.

Why can't we give it more respect.

Make a difference, show Love, understanding and Tolerance. Plant a Tree.

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Nice that something so good is also good for us!

Absolutely disgusting.

#7 That it would be featured on Care2 for over 3 months now!

We need to teach tolerance to adults, as the article says children readily accept differences if the…

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