It is hard to prove which animals on Earth are the longest lived. It is nearly impossible for humans to track an animal for hundreds of years in the wild. It has certainly never been done. However, scientists have come up with some fairly accurate ways of determining the age of some wild animals. Here are just a few of the supposed longest-lived animals on Earth. The ages of these animals have either been assessed by researchers or are known to be fact.
Happens to be human, so imma put his picture here
Longest-lived animal #5: Humans
The average lifespan of humans has increased gradually over many centuries. Today the average person can expect to live around seventy-seven years. This is actually not too bad when compared to other mammals. There are even some people who live well beyond seventy-seven years. The longest-lived person ever recorded was a woman named Jeanne Calment. Jeanne Calment was born in France in 1875 and lived until 1997. She was a whopping 122 years old when she died.
|Check out this stud.|
Photo by Katie Chan
Longest-lived animal #4: Giant Tortoises
All tortoise species are known to live relatively long lives. This is doubly true for giant tortoises. In fact, a Galapagos tortoise by the name of Harriet was reportedly 176 years old when she died in 2006. Many people believe that Harriet was one of the specimens that Charles Darwin brought back with him from the Galapagos. Whether or not she was one of Darwin’s specimens, she was certainly very old. DNA tests confirmed her age. There have even been reports of giant tortoises living even longer than Harriet.
|Cold seep tube worms|
Photo by Charles Fisher
Longest-lived animal #3: Cold Seep Tube Worms
Cold seep tube worms are found in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico. These animals can live for more than 200 years. Scientists have been able to calculate their age by measuring their lengths. When doing this, they take the animals growth rate through different stages of their lives into account.
|Bowhead whale breaching|
Photo by Olga Shpak
Longest-lived animal #2: Bowhead Whales
It has been speculated that bowhead whales are the longest-lived mammals on Earth. This idea came about when whale hunters began turning up harpoon points in their kill from the turn of the last century. Another study on the age of these whales was done by examining the aspartic acid in the deceased whales’ eyeballs. The oldest bowhead ever examined was estimated to be 211 years old.
Longest-lived animal #1: Quahog Clam
Quahog clams have been known to live very long lives. The ones found off of the coast of Iceland are apparently the longest-lived of them all. Bangor University researchers found a quahog clam off of the coast of Iceland that was 405 years old. Scientists are able to pinpoint the age of the clam by counting growth rings on their shells.
So there you have them, five animals that are thought to be among the longest-lived on the Earth. In reality there is no way of knowing if there are animals out there who live even longer lives than those listed here. There are simply too many creatures that mankind has not been able to thoroughly research, though lobsters may be sort of immortal. For now we will just have to be amazed by the long-lived animals that we are aware of.
Oldest Person in the World Turned 122 on February 21, 1997, retrieved 7/10/09, wowzone.com/calment.htm
Klatell, James, Darwin Tortoise Dies after 176 Years, retrieved 7/10/09, cbsnews.com/stories/2006/06/24/tech/main1749256.shtml
Roach, Joan, 405-Year-Old Clam Called Longest-Lived Animal, National Geographic News October 29, 2007, retrieved 7/10/09, news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/10/071029-oldest-clam.html
Hourdez, Stephanie & Fisher, Chuck, Cold Seep Tubeworms, retrieved 7/10/09, oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/explorations/02mexico/background/tubeworms/tubeworm.html