Creatures living in the deep certainly seem to have found the secrets to immortality, or at least to living for centuries. Researching them might teach us how to live for as long as they do, who knows?
23. Koi fish (226 years)
Most koi fish live a maximum of 50 years, but one called Hanako apparently lived for 226 years. Scientists counted the rings on its scales to figure out its age and came to that conclusion. Generally, how long a koi fish lives is impacted by how well they’ve been taken care of.
22. European pond turtle (120 years)
The freshwater turtle could live as long as 120 years because one reportedly lived in a botanical garden in Southern France for that timespan. In the wild though, they only live about 12 years.
21. Sablefish (114 years)
Sablefish, also called black cod, is a fairly nondescript long-lived fish. It lives in the Pacific Ocean, and scientists believe they can live up to 114 years old.
20. Fin whale (114 years)
Whales are some of the longest-living animals on Earth. The fin whale is the second longest-lived whale, with an estimated lifespan of 114 years. It is also the second-biggest whale in the world. Today, fin whales are listed as vulnerable to extinction, but their numbers are increasing.
19. Rockfish (115 to 118 years)
Shortspine thornyhead and the tiger and rasphead rockfish can live up to 115, 116 and 118 years respectively. Two other rockfish species rank even higher than these three.
18. Beluga sturgeon (118 years)
Beluga sturgeon can live long lives (118 years!), but they may not be alive much longer. In fact, these fish are critically endangered and are extinct in most of their Eastern European habitat.
17. Mediterranean spur-thighed tortoise (127 years)
This type of tortoise has lived to be 127 years old in captivity. One might even have lived for as long as 200 years.
16. Eastern box turtle (138 years)
This kind of turtle typically lives between 30 and 40 years, but one has reportedly lived in the wild for 138 years. Their shell has the ability to regenerate. Eastern box turtles appear to have negligible senescence, which means they don’t seem to age.
15. Warty oreo (140 years)
The warty oreo is a deep-sea fish living along the ocean floor between South America and Australia. They eat crustaceans, fish or squid, depending on their size. They’re creepy in person, to say the least.
14. Orange roughy (149 years)
This kind of fish slowly grows throughout their lives and reach sexual maturity around age 20. They’re very vulnerable to overfishing since they take so long to reproduce; they can’t just bounce back when a significant portion of their population is killed.
13. Lake sturgeon (152 years)
This kind of sturgeon lives in the Great Lakes and in other freshwater systems in North America, where they can live up to 152 years. They can grow to be over 6 feet long! They were part of the Native American diet, but the Europeans considered them to be a nuisance and killed them, only to let them rot on the shores. After a while though, someone decided their eggs would be fancy, and caviar became a thing. They became heavily fished after that.
12. Shortraker rockfish (157 years)
This kind of rockfish can live to be 157 years but might live as long as 175 years.
11. Galapagos tortoise (177 years)
The Galapagos Islands got their names from the giant tortoises roaming their land. Galapagos, in fact, means tortoise in old Castillan. They are another endangered species, especially since introduced species like goats and rats are eating their food supply and their eggs on the islands.
10. Aldabra tortoise (180 years)
These tortoises frequently reach age 100, with the oldest confirmed to be 180 years old. They live in Seychelles, across the world from the Galapagos Islands. They’re quite sociable and friendly creatures, even to humans!
9. Red sea urchin (200 years)
Red sea urchins are another species that doesn’t seem to age, although they do get bigger as the years go by. Most of them don’t live past their first year though, which is why the ocean isn’t overrun with them.
8. Rougheye rockfish (205 years)
The longest living rockfish can live to be 205 years, as far as scientists know. They live along the American West Coast and across the ocean to Japan and Russia.
7. Bowhead whale (211 years)
The bowhead whale is the longest-living mammal. Fun fact, they also have the largest mouth of any animal, which can be 25 feet long! Mutations in their DNA would protect them from cancer and ageing.
6. Greenland shark (392 years)
The Greenland shark is the oldest vertebrate on Earth. They’re a bit of a mystery: the swim at a relaxed 0.7 mph and can grow to be at least 21 feet long. They reach maturity around age 150. This is concerning because it was heavily fished in the 1800s. Sharks born in the 1860s would only now reproduce for the first time.
5. Ocean quahog clam (507 years)
Scientists have collected clams to learn more about climate change in 2006. By doing so, they found one that was 507 years old! They named it Ming because it had been alive during the Ming Dynasty in China. It did look like a regular clam, so chances are there are even older ones out there.
4. Sponges (11,000 years)
Sponges are indeed animals, although people forget about them. They simply don’t have eyes or ears or most of the things you’d associate with animals. What makes an animal, an animal then, you might wonder. It must be a blastula at some point—it’s a developmental phase in which the embryo is a hollow ball of cells.
3. Hydra (immortal?)
Hydras are less than half an inch long, but they continually regenerate their cells. They show no signs of ageing and more of their cells are stem cells, which can then differentiate to become any cell type. Cool, right?
2. The immortal jellyfish
The immortal jellyfish can actually regenerate itself and make its cells younger. It can go back to being a blob, its first stage of life. Any of their cells can become another type of cell, which is quite fascinating. While they are all over the ocean, they are so tiny! Smaller than a fingernail, in fact!
1. Humans (122 years)
The oldest verified person to ever live on this Earth is a French woman called Jeanne Calment, who died in 1997 at the age of 122. She was nearly blind and deaf at the end of her life, but otherwise, she was very healthy, riding her bike until she was 100.