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12 of the oldest animals of all time, ranked by age

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Turritopsis dohrnii

A jellyfish (not Turritopsis dohrnii) in Antarctica, photographed by Henry Kaiser of the National Science Foundation.Henry Kaiser, National Science Foundation/Wikimedia Commons

  • Many animals can live much longer than their average lifespan.

  • Cockatoos and turtles live for 100 years or more, while Greenland sharks can live up to 400 years.

  • We’ve collected some of the world’s oldest animals.

While humans outlive many others animalssome species place the average human lifespan (about 72 years old, according to the World Health Organization) to shame. Giant tortoises, for example, can live for over 100 years, while bowhead whales can reach 200 years.

Additionally, some individual animals exceeded the lifespan of their species, gaining notoriety for this feat.

Here are 12 of the world’s oldest animals, ranked by age.

The oldest female gorillas alive today are believed to be 65 years old.


Fatou eats her birthday cake on her 61st birthday.Markus Schreiber/AP

Western lowland gorillas are a subspecies native to the Congo Basin, and they are the most widespread of all gorilla subspecies. Their lifespan in nature goes from 30 to 40 years. In captivity, they can live into their 50s and beyond.

Until his death at age 60 in 2017, Colo, a western lowland gorilla at the columbus zoo, was the oldest gorilla born in a zoo in the world. Colo’s name, an abbreviation for Columbus, Ohio, was chosen through a contest.

today, two female gorillas are thought to share the title: Fatou at the Berlin Zoo in Germany and Trudy at the Little Rock Zoo, Arkansas are both estimated to be 65 years old. Ozzy, a male gorilla in AtlantaGeorgia Zoo was once the oldest man and lived to be 61.

The longest-lived albatross is at least 71 years old.

In this 2018 photo provided by the US Fish and Wildlife Service is Wisdom, the world's oldest known breeding bird with a chick sitting in a nest at the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge and Battle of Midway National Memorial.  Federal wildlife officials say the world's oldest known wild bird has become a mother again at Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge.  The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports that the Laysan albatross named Wisdom hatched a chick earlier this month in the remote atoll northwest of Hawaii.  US Fish and Wildlife Service officials say Wisdom is at least 68 years old and has raised at least 31 chicks.  (Bob Peyton/US Fish and Wildlife Service via AP)

Wisdom, the world’s oldest known breeding bird with a chick, sits in a nest at Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge.Bob Peyton/US Fish and Wildlife Service/AP

Albatrosses, whose wings can stretch 11 feet, can live 50 years or more. The longest-living albatross in the United States – and one of the oldest known wild birds in the world – is a Laysan albatross named Sagesse.

Considered as at least 71 years oldWisdom has far surpassed that of her kind typical lifespan from 12 to 40 years old. She has made headlines several times for continuing to lay eggs well into old age. Wisdom returns annually to a nesting site at Midway Atoll in the North Pacific Ocean.

Ambika at the National Zoo in Washington, DC is thought to be 71 years old, possibly making her the oldest living elephant.

asian elephant

Asian ElephantsPA

Asian elephants can usually live into their 50s. However, a few have reached their 80s. Lin Wang, an Asian elephant at the Taipei Zoo in Taiwan, lived to be 86. At the time of his death in 2003, he held the Guinness World Record for being the oldest elephant in captivity.

Dakshayani, an elephant at the Chengalloor Mahadeva temple in Kerala, India also had a long life. Nicknamed “Gaja Muthassi” (meaning “elephant granny”), she died in 2019 at the age of 88.

In the United States, there are several Asian elephants in the 1970s: Shirley, who lives in Tennessee’s Elephant Sanctuaryis 70 years old, while Ambika is at national zoo in Washington, DC, is 71 years old. It should be noted, however, that these ages are often estimated.

Fred, the oldest cockatoo in the world, is over 100 years old.


A cockatoo (which is not Fred) perches on a basket.PA

Cockatoo are one of 20 species of birds belonging to the parrot subfamily Cacatuinae. They usually have a 60 year lifespanbut some have lived in captivity for more than a century.

for instance, Fred, a sulphur-crested cockatoo at Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary in Tasmania, Australia, is now 104.

Another Australian sulfur-crested cockatoo known as the “Arrogant BennettHe is said to have lived to be 120 years old before dying in 1916. Bennett resided in a hotel.

Cookie, a Major’s Mitchell cockatoo, was also famous for its longevity. He lived to be 83 at the Brookfield Zoo outside of Chicago, Illinois, and died in 2016.

Jonathan, a giant tortoise born in the Seychelles, is 190 years old.

seychelles giant tortoises

Giant tortoises in the Seychelles.Charles Luke/Flickr

Giant tortoises are known for their longevity. One of the best known examples is Lonely George, which was the last surviving member of the species from Pinta Island. He was thought to be over 100 when he died in 2012.

Jonathan, a giant tortoise born in the Seychelles, is still in great shape. at 190 years old, he was appointed oldest living land animal in the world by Guinness World Records. Since 1882 (50 years after his birth), Jonathan has lived in St. Helena, an island in the South Atlantic.

Jonathan is also the oldest chelonian already. (Chelonia is the scientific order that contains tortoises, tortoises, and terrapins.)

The tuatara, sometimes called a “living fossil”, lives for over 100 years. One of the oldest members of the species, called Henry, is over 120 years old.

tuatara replica

Henry the Tuatara is pictured aged 111 resting on his master’s arm at the Southland Museum in Invercargill, New Zealand, August 6, 2008.Dianne Manson/NZPA/AP

Tuataras They are descended from an extinct group of reptiles that roamed the Earth alongside the dinosaurs. These scaled creatures are endemic to New Zealand, where they inhabit 32 islands. The creatures can live up to 100 years or more.

One of the oldest living tuataras, Henry, is at least 123 years old. He lives at Southland Museum and Art Gallerywhere there is a “Tuatarium” habitat.

Henry and his companion Mildred were still laying together in 2009when he was already 111 (even though Mildred was thought to be 70).

Bowhead whales can live for over 200 years. One particular bowhead whale was estimated at 211.

bowhead whale

A bowhead whale.Bering Land Bridge National Reserve/Flickr

With a lifespan that can exceed 200 years, the bowhead whale is the longest living marine mammal. In addition to its longevity, the species is known by its namesake noggin, which contains the largest mouth of any creature in the animal kingdom.

According to Medical Daily, a group of Iñupiat in Alaska caught a bowhead whale in 2007 that had six ancient harpoons in its flesh. The harpoons dated to the late 1800s, suggesting the whale was around 211 years old when it died.

According to a 2016 study, a female Greenland shark is 400 years old.

Greenland sharks

A drawing of a Greenland shark from the book “History of the Fishes of the British Islands” published by Jonathan Couch in 1877.Wikimedia Commons

In the study 2016, the researchers found that, on average, Greenland sharks have a lifespan of about 272 years. Yet sharks, native to the North Atlantic, can live for up to 400 years, as evidenced by a very ancient, unnamed Greenland shark estimated at 400.

The largest sharks noted in the study were 493 centimeters (16 feet) and 502 centimeters (16.5 feet) long and had lifespans of 335 and 392 years, respectively.

A potential secret to the species’ longevity could be its low growth rate of one centimeter (0.39 inches) per year. In July 2022, a Greenland shark has been found in the unusual seas of Belize.

A quahog named Ming lived to be over 500 years old.

Arctica_islandica_(Ocean_quahog)_ _Flickr_ _S._Rae

An ocean quahog speech. (Ming is not pictured.)Wikimedia Commons/S. Rae

Ocean quahogs, a type of talker, typically live 100 to 200 years. One of these clams, nicknamed Ming, was 507 years old when it was discovered in 2006 off the coast of Iceland. To calculate Ming’s age, the researchers counted the strips of his shell.

Ming was part of a group of 200 words that have been dredged from the ocean and frozen as part of a climate change research project.

There is a species of “immortal” jellyfish that is said to age backwards.

Turritopsis dohrnii

A jellyfish (not Turritopsis dohrnii) in Antarctica, photographed by Henry Kaiser of the National Science Foundation.Henry Kaiser, National Science Foundation/Wikimedia Commons

The only thing better than living long is finding a way to thwart death. a kind of jellyfish, Turritopsis dohrnii, is practically immortal. As the jelly ages, it eventually settles to the seabed and becomes a colony of polyps (individual organisms). The polyps then spawn a new, genetically identical jellyfish.

If a Turritopsis dohrnii is physically injured or begins to starve, it can transform into a polyp at will, and then in turn produce new, genetically identical jellyfish.

Some elkhorn corals in Florida and the Caribbean are over 5,000 years old.

elkhorn corals

Elkhorn coral.AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

Many of the planet’s oldest creatures live underwater, including corals. A 2016 study by Penn State University researchers found that certain genotypes of Acropora palmata (elkhorn coral) in Florida and the Caribbean are over 5,000 years.

Read the original article at Business Intern