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. Trust us, these organisms are much older than your grandma, and so, on today’s list we will take a closer look at these 25 living fossils.
The Blue-and-yellow Macaw is a member of a big group of Neotropical parrots that are known for two things: their exotic color and appearance and their amazing ability to age slowly and live a long life. One of the most famous cases of a Blue-and-yellow Macaw living quite long is that of a female named Charlie who, according to estimates, was hatched in 1899, which would make her about 115 years old. She became particularly popular back in 2004 when a story on BBC News claimed that Charlie had formerly belonged to Winston Churchill in the 1930s, information that Churchill’s daughter didn’t verify, most likely because she wasn’t sure about the story’s validity herself.
We already knew that whales are considered to be some of the longest-living mammals on Earth and are also known for having one of the slowest heart rates as well. We just didn’t know the exact numbers but this isn’t the case anymore. Granny, as marine scientists refer to her, is an orca that was born around 1911 and so is believed to be about 103 years old at the moment, a fact that gives her the record for being the oldest-known orca alive. Until recently the average life span of a female orca was around 70 to 80 years, but Granny’s case has made many marine scientists question the validity of their theories or whether Granny is just a sole exception to the rule.
Of course, we can’t go without talking about our own species on this list, now can we? Supposedly the smartest and most civilized of all animals, humans, even though they tend to grow old pretty fast, especially compared to organisms such as plants, aquatic animals, and various other microorganism, appear to be one of the longest-living terrestrial creatures. Even though there have been numerous unverified reports of people who managed to live hundreds of years, Methuselah being a prime example, the longest historically recorded human life belonged to a Frenchwoman named Jeanne Calment, who died at age 122 and 164 days. Not bad for a human, huh?
Sturgeons are usually known for their length and tasty meat and are generally considered one of the best “catches’’ for any fisherman in the United States. In 2012, the state Department of Natural Resources tagged a 125-year-old female sturgeon in Wisconsin. After a closer examination, biologist Ron Bruch found that the 7’3-inch-long, 240-pound sturgeon was born around 1887, which means that the gigantic sturgeon is currently 127 years old and still counting.
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.