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List of long-living organisms: Wikis


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This is a list of the oldest individual lifeforms. This is usually defined as:


Coaxed into activity after stasis

  • Various claims have been made about reviving bacterial spores to active metabolism after millions of years. There are claims of spores from amber being revived after 40 million years, and spores from salt deposits in New Mexico being revived after 240 million years. These claims have been made by credible researchers, but are not universally accepted.[1]
  • A seed from the previously extinct Judean date palm was coaxed to sprout after nearly 2,000 years.[2]

Clonal colonies

As with all long-lived plant and fungal species, no individual part of a clonal colony is alive (in the sense of active metabolism) for more than a very small fraction of the life of the entire clone. Some clonal colonies may be fully connected via their root systems, while most are not actually interconnected, but are genetically identical clones which populated an area through vegetative reproduction. Ages for clonal colonies, often based on current growth rates, are estimates.[3]

Individual bacterium

  • Two-hundred and fifty million year-old bacteria, Bacillus permians, were revived from stasis after being found in sodium chloride crystals in a cavern in New Mexico. Russell Vreeland, and colleagues from West Chester University in Pennsylvania, reported on October 18, 2000 that they had revived the halobacteria after bathing it with a nutrient solution. Having survived for 250 million years, it is the oldest living thing ever recorded.[19]

Individual plant specimens


  • The Hydrozoan species Turritopsis nutricula is capable of cycling from a mature adult stage to an immature polyp stage and back again. This means that there may be no natural limit to its life span.[23] However, no single specimen has been observed for any extended period, and it is impossible to estimate the age of a specimen.
  • The Antarctic sponge Cinachyra antarctica has an extremely slow growth rate in the low temperatures of the Southern Ocean. One specimen has been estimated to be 1,550 years old.[24]
  • A specimen of the Icelandic Cyprine Arctica islandica (also known as an ocean quahog), a mollusk, was found to have lived 405 years and possibly up to 410.[25][26] Another specimen had a recorded life span of 374 years.[27]
  • Some koi fish have reportedly lived more than 200 years, the oldest being Hanako, died at an age of 226 years on July 7, 1977.[28]
  • Some confirmed sources estimated Bowhead Whales to have lived at least to 211 years of age, making them the oldest mammals.[29]
  • Specimens of the Red Sea Urchin, Strongylocentrotus franciscanus, have been found to be over 200 years old.[30]
  • Adwaita, a Aldabra Giant Tortoise died at the (possible) age of 250 in March 2006.
  • Tu'i Malila, a Radiated tortoise, died at an age of 188 years in May 1965, the oldest verified vertebrate.[31]
  • Harriet, a Galápagos tortoise, died at the age of 175 years in June 2006.[32]
  • The deep-sea hydrocarbon seep tubeworm Lamellibrachia luymesi (Annelida, Polychaeta) lives for over 170 years.[33]
  • Timothy, a Greek Tortoise, died at an age of 160 years in April 2004.[34]
  • Geoduck, a species of saltwater clam native to the Puget Sound, have been known to live over 160 years.[35][36]
  • George the lobster was estimated to be approximately 140 years old in January 2009.[37]
  • Jeanne Calment was the oldest human to have verifiable birth records. She was 122 years old at time of death.
  • The tuatara can live well above 100 years. Henry, a tuatara at the Southland Museum in New Zealand, mated for the first time at the age of 110 years in 2009 with an 80-year-old female and fathered 11 baby tuataras.
  • A female Blue-and-yellow Macaw named Charlie was reportedly hatched in 1899, which would make her 110 years old, as of 2009. Her age has not been independently confirmed and the claim may not be reliable. She is claimed to have formerly belonged to Winston Churchill, but Churchill's daughter denies the claim.[38]

See also


  1. ^ "Oldest Living Thing". Retrieved 2010-03-17. 
  2. ^ Erlanger, Steven. "After 2,000 years, a seed from ancient Judea sprouts." The New York Times. June 12, 2005.
  3. ^ a b c Gymnosperm Database (2 January 2007). "How Old Is That Tree?". Retrieved 2006-07-25. 
  4. ^ Ibiza Spotlight (28 May 2006). "Ibiza's Monster Marine Plant". Retrieved 2007-05-09. 
  5. ^ Quaking Aspen by the Bryce Canyon National Park Service
  6. ^ Genetic Variation and the Natural History of Quaking Aspen, Mitton, J. B. & Grant, M. C. (1996). BioScience 46 (1): 25-31.
  7. ^ Discovery Channel (21 October 1996). "Tasmanian bush could be oldest living organism". Retrieved 2006-07-25. 
  8. ^ Ad Crable, Lancaster New Era, August 20 1999 Meet the World's oldest - and hardest working - plant
  9. ^ "Oldest Living Organism". Retrieved 2006-07-25. 
  10. ^ "A Pleistocene Clone of Palmer's Oak Persisting in Southern California". Retrieved 2010-01-02. 
  11. ^ "Plant Hall of Fame". 
  12. ^ "Native Conifers of Tasmania". Paks and Wildlife Service, Tasmania. Retrieved 2008-05-06. 
  13. ^ "Press release from Umeå University". Retrieved 2010-03-17. 
  14. ^ Swedish spruce may be world's oldest living tree (Reuters, 11 April 2008)
  15. ^ "Oldest Living Tree Found in Sweden". Retrieved 2010-03-17. 
  16. ^ World's oldest living tree discovered in Sweden (Swedish Research Council, 16 April 2008)
  17. ^ Humongous Fungus A New Kind Of Individual. Science Daily. March 25 2003.
  18. ^ Strange but True: The Largest Organism on Earth Is a Fungus. Scientific American. October 4, 2007.
  19. ^ 250-Million-Year-Old Bacillus permians Halobacteria Revived. October 22, 2000. Bioinformatics Organization. J.W. Bizzaro. [1]
  20. ^ Gymnosperm Database (15 March 2007). "Pinus longaeva". Retrieved 2006-07-25. 
  21. ^ "Botanical Record Breakers: Amazing Trivia About Plants". Retrieved 2010-03-17. 
  22. ^ O. Rackham, J. Moody, The Making of the Cretan Landscape, 1996, cited in F. R. Riley (2002). Olive Oil Production on Bronze Age Crete: Nutritional properties, Processing methods, and Storage life of Minoan olive oil. Oxford Journal of Archaeology 21 (1): 63–75
  23. ^ "Cheating Death: The Immortal Life Cycle of ''Turritopsis''". Retrieved 2010-03-17. 
  24. ^ "AnAge entry for Cinachyra antarctica". Retrieved 2010-03-17. 
  25. ^ "NewsDaily: Science - 405-year-old clam longest lived animal". Retrieved 2010-03-17. 
  26. ^ "Bangor University Press: 400 year old Clam Found". 2007-10-28. Retrieved 2010-03-17. 
  27. ^ Schöne et al. (2005). "Climate records from a bivalved Methuselah". Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 228 (228): 130–148. doi:10.1016/j.palaeo.2005.03.049. 
  28. ^ Dr. Komei Koshihara, The Story of Hanako, NHK, 1966 - about the carp that died 226-year-old, and century-old carps
  29. ^ Alaska Science Forum (15 February 2001). "Bowhead Whales May Be the World's Oldest Mammals". Retrieved 2006-07-25. 
  30. ^ Ebert, TA and JR Southon 2003. Red sea urchins can live over 100 years: confirmation with A-bomb [14.sup]carbon — Strongylocentrotus franciscanus. Fishery Bulletin, 101(4): 915-922
  31. ^ Seed: Week In Science: 6/23 - 6/29
  32. ^ "Harriet the Tortoise dies at 175". BBC News. 23 June 2006. 
  33. ^ Sharmishtha, D., Miles, L. L., Barnabei, M.S., Fisher, C. R. 2006. The hydrocarbon seep tubeworm Lamellibrachia luymesi primarily eliminates sulfate and hydrogen ions across its roots to conserve energy and ensure sulfide supply. Journal of Experimental Biology 209:3795-3805
  34. ^ "Timmy the tortoise dies aged 160" BBC News
  35. ^ BC Seafood Online, 168 year old geoduck
  36. ^ "Cashing in on geoducks", Seattle Post-Intelligencer, August 21, 2004, 164 year old geoduck
  37. ^ "George the giant lobster liberated from restaurant", CNN, 10 January, 2009
  38. ^ "Winston's obscene parrot lives on", BBC News, 19 January, 2004.


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