Us humans are currently the most intelligent species in the world. Or at least that’s what we assume. Along with this assumption comes another that since we’re the smartest, we must also be one of the longest living species in the world.
Boy, are we wrong!
While an average human’s life span of about 60-80 years (depending on where you live) seems quite impressive when compared to animals like certain flies who’s lifespan extends to whole whopping five minutes, there are other instances where its the opposite. Some of them may even outlive you by a life and a half!
Here are 10 of the longest living animals on planet Earth.
1. Ocean Quahog
Clams! These inanimate sea creatures have been recorded to live about 200 to 400 years or more. One of the most famous ones, a quahog clam named Ming, died at the age of 507 years old. It was named so because it’s age tells us that it would have been alive sine the Ming dynasty. But what’s sad about it, is that Ming could have lived longer if it wasn’t for human error. Researchers dredged the bivalve up from Icelandic waters, killing and freezing Ming and others like it for climate research purposes.
2. Bowhead Whales
Although bowhead whales have been long suspected to have massive life spans, this was only confirmed recently when a killed bowhead whale was examined. The whale seemed to have harpoons on its body that were determined to have been there since the 1890s through amino acids. This told us that bowhead whales live from up to 177 to 245 years!
You’ve heard the phrase “slow and steady wins the race”, but realizing that tortoises can live well past a 100 years gives a whole new meaning to it. Several tortoises have even been recorded to have lived up to 200 or more years!
4. Koi Fish
These Japanese fish have a typical life span of 25-30 years, but there have been several records of some of them living for more than 200 years. One particular koi fish, named Hanako, was said to have passed away in 1977 at the ripe old age of 227. The age of a fish is estimated it’s scales, similar to how the age of a tree would be estimated through the rings on its trunk. They are popularly domesticated and kept in ponds to beautify outdoor koi ponds or water gardens.
The appropriately named “Immortal Jellyfish” goes through a Benjamin Button like process, where it starts de-aging. Once the jellyfish reaches its maturity, it bends over into a ball. While this might symbolize death in most other animals, this jellyfish emerges wholly anew in its polyp stage. It keeps repeating this process over and over again, making it the closest thing to immorality we’ve seen on planet earth!
6. Greenland Sharks
Greenlands sharks live up to 200 years on the regular, but one of them has been recorded to have lived for 400 years. This makes it the longest living vertebrate in the entire world! Their impossible long life spans may be attributed to the fact that they grow really, really slowly. In fact, their size increases by only 1 cm per year, meaning they only reach maturity when they turn about 100 years old.
7. Tube Worms
Colorful tube worms lining the hydrocarbon vents of the ocean floor have been estimated by scientists to live around a 175 years. Certain kinds of them have also been recorded to have lived around 250 years or more.
8. Red Sea Urchins
Sea urchins are prickly, spindly looking creatures that you might have a hard time believing are actually alive. But, oh boy, they surely are alive, and probably will even outlive you! These particular ones, named red sea urchins because of their color, are said to live up to a 100 years. Fascinatingly, they do not show any biological signs of aging as they get older, and also have the ability to regenerate their tissues, like a lizard or starfish.
9. Sea Sponges
Another sea creature that sound incredibly made up is the sea sponge. Yes, its alive, and yes, it lives a long, long, time. About 11,000 years to be exact! And to think it doesn’t even move throughout its entirely lifetime is pretty incredible.
10. African Elephant
Most animals we’ve seen so far have been sea creatures or reptiles, but one of the longest living land mammals is the African elephant. With an average life span of about 70-80 years, these gentle giants live long, happy lives just like us humans!