The longest-lived animals prove that the time given to man is but a short moment. There are quite a few species in nature that can live more than 100 years. However, none of them hold the record, as the life cycle of some organisms can even be several thousand years! However, we are still not talking about the record, because it turns out that some representatives of the animal kingdom learned the recipe for immortality. Which animal lives the longest? We answer this question below.
It seems that Mother Nature was not very fair in dividing the time that every living organism on this planet would spend. Some animals live for a day (e.g. mayfly), others a few days (e.g. gastropod), several weeks (e.g. honey bee), a year (e.g. Furcifer labordi), several years (e.g. robin) or several decades (including parrots)† There are also organisms that live several thousand years. Where do the big differences come from?
The longest-lived animals? The lifespan of animals depends on many factors, including the environmental conditions in which they live, the rate of metabolic changes, and natural mechanisms that promote longevity.† Which animals live the longest? To answer this question, you need to get off the mainland and dive into the depths of the ocean, as this is where the longest-lived species are found. In cold water, the body “slows down” and, moreover, a long life is favored by the stability of the prevailing conditions there†
Aldabra giant tortoise opens our list. The record holder of this species known to man lived up to 150 years (he ended his life in 2006, at the zoo in Calcutta).
The largest population of these giants (the length of the shell of an adult male can exceed 120 cm, the average weight is 250 kg) is the Aldabara atoll (Seychelles). They can also be found near Zanzibar, on the island of Changuu.
Another representative of the turtle line was next in our ranking. Some sources indicate that the oldest elephant turtle lived to be 177 years old. Another specimen – Harriett the Tortoise – finished at age 176†
The natural habitat of the giant reptiles is the Galapagos Islands. The word “giant” is not overused in this case. Turtles can grow to 187 cm in length and weigh up to 300 kg. A distinctive feature of the animal is a long neck. It is these features that largely determine the longevity of this species – a large reptile with a long neck has a much higher chance of surviving a trip through the water.
From the world of reptiles we go to the kingdom of fishes. In terms of life expectancy, one of the record holders here is the sharp-edged crimson (although it is still not the record holder). The red representative of the family Sebastidae lives about 200 years† Fairly good!
Where does the secret to the longevity of this inconspicuous fish come from? It is largely a matter of the depth at which he lives. Fish of this family are found in fairly warm regions of the Pacific Ocean, but they are better suited to deep waters, where the temperature is much lower.
The next long-lived specimen is the sea urchin Strongylocentrotus franciscanus – a representative of the echinoderms. It is characterized by a round body covered with spikes up to 8 cm long. They grip the seabed with small, tubular limbs. A creature that lives off the Pacific coast (from California to Alaska) can live for up to 200 years with no significant signs of aging†
There is a curiosity associated with this species. Not so long ago, scientists were convinced that the sea urchin’s life cycle will close in a decade. Only 14C activated carbon dating proved their longevity
Our list already includes reptiles and fish, so it’s time for a mammal. The longest-lived representative of this group is the bowhead whale. With a length of 16 meters and a brew of 75 tons, this giant can live up to 210 years†
The lifespan of these giants is largely determined by their natural environment, and more precisely – the conditions that prevail there. Greenlandic dykes live in the cold waters of the Arctic, subarctic regions of the Atlantic Ocean and the Sea of Okhotsk. This translates into a decrease in body temperature and a slower metabolism and consequently slows down the aging process of cells.
It’s time for the longest-lived fish on our list and the longest-lived vertebrate at the same time. The oldest known female Arctic shark lived to be 392 years old† Its territory covers the North Atlantic Ocean, the Arctic Ocean and the White Sea. Nature has adapted this species to life in the depths, and this is where its representatives most often appear. Although they usually swim at a depth of about 1,200 m, some individuals go to 2,200 m.
Arctic sharks reach a length of 4.8 m. The average weight of adults is about 400 kg. Its diet consists of fish, smaller sharks and marine mammals. Some individuals also feed on much larger animals – reindeer, moose, and even polar bears.
European animals do not live very long? Nothing is wrong anymore, and the best example of this is Icelandic Cyprus. In 2006, a person who lived for 507 years was found in the coastal waters of Iceland, and it is worth noting that the average life expectancy of these animals is about 225 years.†
What is Icelandic Cyprina? It is a type of deep-sea shell of the Arcticidae family, found in the North Atlantic Ocean and adjacent seas.
Long-lived animals are also inconspicuous sponges. Cinachyra antarctica is the species that opens the stage of the longest-lived animals. This tissue-free marine animal can live up to 1,550 years.
Another sponge took second place. Cinachyra antarctica lives in the cold Antarctic waters and exhibits an extremely slow metabolism, giving it … 15,000 years of life!
What is the oldest animal on Earth? It is an inconspicuous jellyfish that will never die of old age because it will never grow old. Living in the Mediterranean (probably in other waters too), Turritopsis dohrnii has had the ability to regress in development.
The normal life cycle of animals in this family is the transition from a polyp to a sexually mature jellyfish. However, Turritopsis dohrnii can return to its former form. The process known as transdifferentiation can repeat indefinitely, rendering the animal immortal in practice.†