11 Phenomenal Creatures That Will Live Longer Than You
From antiquity, longevity and immortality of living species and individuals has been a subject of research and study for many great scientists, thinkers, and philosophers. Science claims that the fundamental unit of life is the cell and that for any living organism to live as long as possible, it must work to maintain a healthy stasis for the cells that comprise it. This is the main reason why many modern researchers and scientists believe that the secret to longevity and possibly to immortality is hidden in nature, to be more specific, in other living organisms that appear to live unrealistically long. Written by Theodoros II
The immortal jellyfish, as is better known, is the only living organism on Earth that has achieved some kind of “immortality.” Marine biologists were shocked to find out that the jellyfish is able to revert back to a juvenile form once it mates after becoming sexually mature, and so in this way it can potentially live forever. The Turritopsis nutricula, classified as a hydrozoa (very small predatory animals), is the only known creature capable of reverting completely to its younger self and scientists believe that the cycle can repeat indefinitely, which means that the “immortal jellyfish” might really be immortal after all.
Hydrae are believed to be one of the very few organisms that are biologically immortal and there’s no senescence in their kind. What does that mean? Simply put, their cells divide forever and as a result a hydra never grows old. However, hydrae that reproduce sexually will eventually age and die just like humans or other animals. According to a study published in the journal Experimental Gerontology, biologists are particularly fascinated by hydrae due to their amazing regenerative ability, while some scientists will go as far as to say that hydrae might be hiding the secret of immortality for humans.
Silphidae is a family of beetles also known as carrion beetles. These beetles are particularly famous in entomology circles because of their beneficial “abnormality” which allows their larvae to go through a degree of “reversed development” when starved, and later to grow back to the previously attained level of maturity. Entomologists suggest that the cycle can be repeated many times, which allows this beetle to live for a very long, unidentified period of time.
Despite what many people appear to believe, sponges are animals or, to be more precise, they are the simplest form of multi-cellular animals. They are known for their truly amazing diversity since they come in an immense variety of colors and shapes. They don’t have internal organs or muscles and even more amazingly, they lack a nervous and circulatory system. Their walls are lined with many small pores called ostia, which allow water to flow into the sponge. The most impressive thing about sponges, however, seems to be their ability to survive for thousands of years, as marine scientists have found and examined species of sponges in Antarctica which were estimated to be 10,000 years old.
THE OCEAN QUAHOG
The Ocean quahog also known as Arctica islandica, is a classic marine bivalvemollusk, and the two halves of its hinged, rounded shell are thick, glossy and dark brown in color. It is a long-lived animal and it’s really big for its kind since it can grow up to 13-14cm across. It usually lives buried in both dry and muddy sand, and up to a depth of 500 meters, often with its shell completely hidden, with just a small tube rising to the surface of the seabed. The most impressive thing about the ocean quahog however seems to be its longevity with two specimens of this kind found to have lived 507 years and 375 years respectively.
FRESHWATER PEARL MUSSEL
The freshwater pearl mussel is a species of freshwater mussel also known by its scientific name Margaritifera margaritifera, and it has recently been categorized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as likely to become extinct. For that reason, marine scientists and malacologists alike have paid much attention to the species in recent decades, with Russian malacologist Valeriy Zyuganov gaining global attention upon his discovery that a freshwater pearl mussel could live up to 250 years. A team of Finnish malacologists later confirmed his discovery, and revealed that the oldest-recorded animal in Finland’s history is a Margaritifera margaritifera that was estimated to be between 210 and 250 years old.
Adwaita was a male Aldabra giant tortoise that lived in the Alipore Zoological Gardens of Kolkata, India. According to the scientists and zoo employees who took care of Adwaita, the enormous animal weighed about 590 lbs and some of his favorite foods included carrots, lettuce, bread, and grass. It was also estimated that this giant tortoise was born in the Seychelles around 1750 and was about 255 years old when he died in 2006. This means that during the course of his life Adwaita was alive through four different centuries, a fact that makes tortoises some of the longest-living animals in history.
Contrary to various urban legends and memes you might have heard about lobsters, the truth is that this delicious crustacean is as mortal as humans and even if left undisturbed by man and other sea predators, it will one day die from old age. However, scientific studies have shown that lobsters don’t age like most other living organisms, their reproductive capabilities do not decrease, and their metabolism doesn’t slow down as they grow older. In fact, their strength seems to increase as they age in many cases, with the prime example being George the Lobster, a giant American lobster that was captured in 2008 and impressed everyone with his weight (20 lbs) and incredible strength. According to marine scientists he was born around 1869, which would currently make him 145 years old.
Evidence of ancient harpooning methods combined with modern scientific research has shown that a bowhead whale can live as long as 200 years, which has led scientists to believe that it could possibly be the longest-living mammal on the planet. The sad thing about bowhead whales is that in most cases the scientists have to estimate their age through an autopsy, which was the case of a bowhead that was killed by Iñupiat Eskimos in northern Alaska and was estimated to be 211 years old. Researchers insist that if bowhead whales could be left undisturbed by Iñupiat hunters they could live more than 250 years.
Koi fish are usually kept for decorative purposes in outdoor koi ponds or water gardens and are probably the second-most-famous fish used for decoration, behind goldfish. Koi are known for their remarkable longevity and for their fascinating variation in color: they can come in white, red, yellow, black, blue, cream, and other color combinations as well. Apparently a koi can live for 200 years or more, with the most famous example being a koi whose owners called it Hanako, who died at the age of 226 years on July 7, 1977.
Tuatara are rare, small-sized reptiles that are located only in New Zealand. A typical adult tuatara ranges from about 300 g to 1 kg, and they are considered to be the only surviving members of the Sphenodontia family, which was represented by many species during the age of the dinosaurs almost 200 million years ago. However, all these species vanished and became extinct about 60 million years ago, except the tuatara, a fact that makes them an endangered species, and one of the most ancient animals in the world. In 2002, a tuatara named Henry by his caretakers underwent surgery to remove a tumor from his genitals and in 2009 at the age of 111 he mated for the first time with an eighty-year-old female named Mildred and had 11 baby tuatara.