10 Oldest Living Creatures

04 Aug 2016 08:18 2,466
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From the elusive cave dwelling salamander, to the invincible koi fish, these are 10 of the OLDEST living creatures !

Koi -- Well known to inhabit decorative ponds, Koi are a domesticated and ornamental variety of the common carp. Certain varieties of koi are thought to live between 100-200 years. A famous red koi named “Hanako” reportedly lived to be 225 years old.

Tortoise -- Tortoises are known for their longevity … but did you know the oldest tortoise lived to the ripe old age of 250 years old! Well, there is some controversy about that… But the story goes that Adwaita was captured in the Seychelles Islands in the 1700s, and was donated to the Alipore Zoo in India in 1875, and lived there -- outliving his keepers -- until 2006.

Greenland Shark -- They’re also known as the Grey Shark or the Sleeper Shark … but they’re not as well known as the Great White although the Greenland rivals their size at over 20 feet long and weighing nearly 2500 pounds. One reason for the animal’s anonymity is their habitat. Native to North Atlantic waters, they prefer colder temperatures and tend to swim as deep as 2200 meters. And they’re thought to have long lifespans, possibly over 200 years. That number was arrived at when a shark was caught and tagged near Greenland in 1936. When it was recaptured in 1952, researchers found it had grown 6 cm longer. Following that formula, a mature 7-meter shark would be more than 200 years old.

Ocean Quahog (qwa-hog) -- Much like the age of a tree can be deduced from its rings, these clams have dark concentric rings or banding on their shells that researchers interpret as annual marks. Judging from those rings, some specimens have been estimated at over 400 years old. In one notorious case from 2006, an ocean quahog clam nicknamed Ming was taken off the coast of Iceland. When its annual marks or growth rings were counted, the clam’s age was calculated at 405. When scientists opened the shell to study the animal’s insides, they effectively killed the clam. However, later analysis including carbon-14 dating proved the clam was actually 507 years old, making it the oldest individual animal whose age could be verified. It also earned Ming a Guinness Record for oldest mollusk. Ming, by the way, was named for the Chinese dynasty that was in power around the time it was born.

Turritopsis Nutricula Jellyfish -- This animal might have actually found the fountain of youth. Endemic to the Caribbean Sea and the Mediterranean, it has the ability to cycle from mature adult stage to primordial birth stage, and back again … seemingly able to repeat the process endlessly. It’s the only species in the world capable of this sort of transformation. At this point researchers are unsure if the creature’s lifespan has any natural limit … maybe that’s why the creature is also known as the Immortal Jellyfish.

Mata Mata Turtle -- In Spanish, the name “Mata Mata” translates to ‘kill kill’, and are found in the Amazon and Orinoco basins in South America. They’re identified by their unique neck which is actually longer than its vertebra. That long neck functions as a natural snorkel, allowing the animal to keep its nose above water while staying staying on the bottom of a stream. They can also stretch their neck and open their mouth wide to create a vacuum, enabling them to swallow fish whole, since their jaws aren’t able to chew food. As adults, they’re known to measure around around 18 inches and weigh up to 33 pounds, and are readily available in the exotic pet trade. If you want one, keep few things in mind: They have a steep price tag and they’re known to live between 40 to 75 years … if you really pamper them, they might make it past 100!.

Sea Sponge -- In 2016, a massive sea sponge was found off the Hawaiian coast that measured 3.5 meters long, 1.5 meters wide and 2 meters high, residing over 2000 meters below the surface. That size gives it claim to be the world’s largest sponge … and possibly the oldest living animal in the world! You can see the creature in these pictures from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The images were captured by two remote operated vehicles. The research team that made the discovery hasn’t been able to determine an exact age for the sponge. However, researcher David Wagner said he’s encountered other huge coral species at these depths that can live to be a few thousand years old … with the oldest being 4500 years old!

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