Oldest animals in the world

Posted on Sep 5, 2008 in Age

Oldest animal on record – The clam

Whilst dredging waters off the Icelandic coast, a team of British marine biologists hauled up a clam classified as the Ocean Quahog. Unfortunately for the clam, it did not survive the ordeal. To discover its age, the researchers cut through its shell and counted its growth rings and were astonished to discover it was between 405 - 410 years old.

 

Oldest existing species – The horseshoe crab

If we exclude certain bacteria and algae that have been around for nearly a billion years, then the answer is the horseshoe crab.  More closely related to spiders and scorpions, this ‘living fossil’ has a documented unchanged fossil history of over 400 million years. To put that into perspective,  humans have only been around for 3 million years!

 

Oldest mammal after us – The Asiatic elephant

Given the advances in medicine, many humans now regularly live beyond a 100 years old.  But medical insurance doesn’t exist in the wild and these Asiatic elephants do pretty well with a normal lifespan of about 60 years. With no natural predators, their only threat to enjoying a long life is us.

 

Oldest known reptile – Jonathon (not pictured)

Jonathon, a tortoise living on the South Atlantic island of St Helena, is believed to be 176 years old.  His remarkable existence came to light when a photograph, taken in 1900, of him nibbling grass in front of a Boer War prisoner and guard surfaced at auction.

 

Oldest cat – Whiskey (not pictured)

Whiskey, a black and white moggy, was rescued from a dustbin back in 1971. Incredibly, the ancient puss is still going strong, making him 266 in cat years.

 

Oldest goldfish – Tish (not pictured)

A goldfish called Tish who was won at a funfair is generally regarded as the oldest known captive goldfish. He reached 43 years before dying peacefully in his bowl. In later life, Tish faded from his natural bright orange to a more distinguished silver. His owner said the secret of Tish’s long life was not being overfed and being placed in the sun occasionally.

 

Oldest dog – Bella (not pictured)

Bella, a Labrador cross, is believed to have been 29 years old when she died in 2009. She was bought from the RSPCA  when she was three year’s old.

 

Do mice really like cheese?

Answer : It’s certainly a popular myth reinforced by classic cartoons such as Tom & Jerry. But for the record, mice do not really like cheese. Given the choice, they would much prefer something like a nice fruit muesli.

Holy guacamole! I really want to...