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[Animals] What is the longest living animal on earth?


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The lifespan of some members of the animal kingdom extends to centuries and thousands of years, and some animals can even stop or completely reverse the aging process, thus becoming closer to immortality.



The animal kingdom may boast incredibly long lifespans, most of which exceed the average human lifespan. While humans may have an “absolute limit” of 150 years, this is just a blink of an eye compared to the centuries and millennia that some animals live. And some animals can even stop or completely reverse the aging process.

Although there are long-lived land animals – the oldest turtle, for example, is nearly 190 years old – none of them make it to this list, all the true longevity champions live in water.

The bowhead whale is the longest-lived mammal (Getty Images)
1. The bowhead whale: more than 200 years old
The bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus) is the longest-lived mammal, and this Arctic Ocean whale can be more than 200 years old, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Whales have mutations in a gene called (ERCC1), which is involved in repairing damaged DNA, and may help protect whales from cancer. Moreover, there is another frequent gene called (PCNA), which helps cells grow and repair, and its replication may slow down aging.

The maximum age of the scarlet rockfish is 205 years (Getty Images)
2. Scarlet rockfish: over 200 years old
The scarlet rockfish (Sebastes aleutianus) has a maximum lifespan of at least 205 years, according to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

These fish live in the Pacific Ocean from California to Japan. It reaches a length of 97 centimeters, and eats other animals such as shrimp and small fish.

3. Mussels: more than 250 years old
Freshwater pearl mussels (Margaritifera margaritifera) - bivalves that filter food particles from the water - live mainly in rivers and streams and can be found in Europe and North America.

These invertebrates have a long life thanks to their low metabolism. The oldest freshwater mussel is 280 years old, according to the World Wildlife Fund, but it is currently an endangered species according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Greenland sharks can live 272 years (Shutterstock)
4. Greenland shark: more than 272 years old
Greenland sharks (Somniosus microcephalus) live in the depths of the Arctic Ocean and the North Atlantic Ocean.

They can reach a length of 7.3 meters and have a diet that includes a variety of other animals. They are considered the longest-lived vertebrates on Earth, as a 2016 study estimated that these sharks could have a maximum lifespan of at least 272 years.

5. Tubeworms: more than 300 years old
A study published in 2017 found that a species of tube worm (Escarpia laminata) lives on the ocean floor for up to 200 years, and some specimens live for more than 300 years.

Tube worms, which are invertebrates, live in the cold environment of the deep sea with few natural threats, which has helped them have such long lifespans.

The oldest freshwater mussel is 280 years old (Getty Images)
6. Oceanic clam: more than 500 years old
Oceanic clam (Arctica islandica) is the common name for some mollusks. It lives in the North Atlantic Ocean. One was found off the coast of Iceland in 2006 and was 507 years old, according to the UK's National Museum of Wales.

7. Black Coral: More than 4,000 years old
Corals are made up of the exoskeletons of invertebrates called polyps, and they continually reproduce by creating genetically identical copies, which over time causes the coral's exoskeleton to grow larger. Therefore, coral reefs consist of multiple identical organisms rather than being a single organism.

Corals can live for hundreds of years or more, and specimens of black corals (Leiopathes sp.) were found in deep waters off the coast of Hawaii, and they were 4,265 years old.

Coral reefs can live for hundreds of years or more (Getty Images)
8. Glass sponges: more than 10,000 years old
Sponges consist of colonies of coral-like animals, and they can also live for thousands of years. Glass sponges have glass-like skeletons and are among the longest-lived species of sponge on Earth.

A study published in 2012 estimated that glass sponges belonging to the species (Monorhaphis chuni) were about 11,000 years old. Other sponges may be able to live even longer.

9. Immortal Jellyfish
Turritopsis dohrnii is called the immortal jellyfish because it has the potential to live forever. Jellyfish begin their life as larvae, and jellyfish, which are native to the Mediterranean, can reverse their life cycle several times, and thus may never die of old age, according to the Natural History Museum in London.

And the size of the immortal jellyfish is less than 4.5 mm and is eaten by other animals such as fish and may die by other means, and therefore cannot achieve actual immortality.

Some mollusks live in the North Atlantic Ocean for more than 500 years (Getty Images)
10. Hydra
Hydra are a group of small, soft-bodied invertebrates that look a bit like jellyfish, and can potentially live forever.




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