Oldest Living Beings
Speaking of the awareness of our own mortality and the anxiety that this inspires (see my previous post), here are some of Earth’s longest living beings. [readon]
First there’s Jonathan, the world’s oldest living tortoise. Last I read of him was four years ago, when he was at least 176 years old and living on a plantation in the South Atlantic island of St. Helena, along with his buddies David, Speedy, Emma, Fredricka and Myrtle. Here he is in 2008:
… and here he is in 1900, at the ripe young age of about 70, eating grass in South Africa next to a prisoner from the Boer War:
And Greener Ideas has a list of other golden oldies, including one who’s more than 4,000 years old. (You may say “Oh, that’s not really an animal,” but you’d be wrong; she is.)
And then there’s Turritopsis nutricula, a stunningly beautiful jellyfish, who is apparently immortal:
She grows up, she grows old, she grows younger, she starts over, and then she grows up all over again.