Did you know that some forms of microorganisms can survive for millions of years? And what if we say that there are creatures that are immortal? Even if it may sound unbelievable, these are facts that have been scientifically proven. Nature is simply fascinating and there’s so much more that we still need to learn about it. For better understanding, here’s a quick look at some of the longest living animals on planet earth.
Giant tortoise – These are among the oldest animal species found on earth. They are native to remote tropical islands such as Galápagos Islands in Ecuador and the Aldabra Atoll and Fregate Island in Seychelles. These are super-sized creatures, weighing up to more than 400 kg. A giant tortoise can live up to more than 100 years. Some have even lived for more than 200 years.
Bowhead Whale – Native to the Arctic and subarctic waters, Bowhead whales are distinguishable by their massive triangular skull. One of the primary uses of the large skull is to break the Arctic ice. Bowhead whales also hold the record of having the largest mouth among animals. These whales swim through the oceans with their mouth open to filter feed on sea creatures such as zooplankton. Bowhead whales are estimated to live up to 200 years, making them the longest-living mammals.
Greenland Shark – Also known as grey shark, Greenland shark can be found in the Arctic Ocean and North Atlantic Ocean. It is an apex predator and feeds primarily on fish and seals. Greenland shark reaches maturity at 150 years of age and can live up to 300 to 500 years. Due to high concentrations of nitrogenous compounds in its tissues, the Greenland shark is toxic in raw form.
Ocean Quahog – Arctica Islandica or the ocean quahog is a type of edible clam that is found in the North Atlantic Ocean. It is one of the widely harvested sea-based food sources. Ocean quahog begins life as larvae and takes around 5-6 years to reach maturity. According to estimates, the ocean quahog can live up to 400 to 500 years. The clam’s long lifespan is made possible through slow ageing and lowered somatic maintenance.
Immortal Jellyfish – As the name suggests, immortal jellyfish is capable of fully reverting to its original polyp stage. They can thus theoretically continue to live forever, which is why they are considered as biologically immortal. Immortal jellyfish often return back to their polyp stage when they get sick or old or are confronted with situations such as physical assault or environmental stress. However, they can still die due to factors such as predation. The immortal jellyfish is currently being studied by scientists to better understand the process of ageing and death.