Methuselah's Modern Rivals:  10 Organisms that Defy Time

14th March, 2024


● Factors for Longevity: ● Slow Growth: Slowing down development reduces wear and tear on the body. ● Incredible Resilience: Ability to repair damage and survive harsh conditions. ● Stable Environments: Found in places with little change over centuries.

What Makes an Organism Long-Lived?

Pando (Quaking Aspen)

Age: Estimated at least 80,000 years old! ●  Why So Long? ◇ Clonal Colony: A single root system connects a vast grove of genetically identical trees. ◇ Rejuvenation: While individual trunks may die, the root system sends new ones.

Great Basin Bristlecone Pine

Age: The oldest known individual is over 5,000 years old. Why So Long? ● Masters of Survival: Grow in extreme high-altitude environments where few others can. ● Super Slow Growth: Harsh conditions lead to dense wood that is resistant to rot and disease.

Giant Barrel Sponge

Age: Potentially thousands of years old. Why So Long? ● Simple but Steady: Sponges are simple animals filtering food from seawater. ● Size Matters: Large size and prolonged growth rate contribute to extreme longevity.


Age: Potentially thousands of years. Why So Long? ● Life in the Slow Lane: Existing inside rocks, metabolism is almost unbelievably slow. ● Dormant for Decades: Can remain inactive for long periods, surviving harsh conditions.

Greenland Shark

Age: Among the longest-lived vertebrates, it can reach over 400 years old. Why So Long? ● Cold = Slow: Icy Arctic waters slow their metabolism and growth dramatically. ● Late Bloomers: Wait to reach reproductive maturity until astonishingly old (around 150 years).

Glass Sponge

Age: Estimates suggest some species can live over 10,000 years! Why So Long? ● Deep Sea Dwellers: A stable environment of the cold ocean depths promotes slow growth. ● Growth Rings Tell a Tale: Fine rings in their skeletons can be used to determine age, like tree rings.

Ocean Quahog Clam

Age: Ming the Clam was 507 years old when it was found! Why So Long?: ● Steady as it Goes: A cold, stable marine environment and slow metabolism are essential. ● Growth Rings as Record: External rings on the shell mark a year of growth, allowing accurate aging.


Age: Potentially immortal! Why So Long?: ● Amazing Regeneration: Constantly replace old or damaged cells, maintaining youth. ● Simple but Effective: Simple body plans may limit how they age and break down.

Turritopsis dohrnii Jellyfish

Age: Theoretically immortal. Why So Long? ● Life Cycle Trick: Can revert from the medusa stage to a polyp when injured or stressed. ● Reset Button: Essentially starts its life cycle anew, avoiding cell breakdown associated with aging.