There are so many incredible things on our planet that it is simply impossible to list them all. Mountains, beaches, breathtaking landscapes, etc. that we all admire for centuries. However, in addition to the things that nature has created, humans also create unimaginable and amazing ones. Among the oldest creations of mankind, there are certainly pyramids in Egypt. They were built several millennia BC, which is truly amazing. The more fascinating thing is that they are still there, defying for centuries and showing us that humans are impressive beings.
Yet another fact is that we are part of nature, which is still above all of us. But today’s topic is not about people, buildings, or anything that is a product of humanity. Today, we will talk about living beings, who, like us, are part of nature, and which we can freely say exist from the time when man was primitive. If you thought the pyramids and their age were amazing, then it’s time to realize that nature is actually impressive and that everything starts and ends with it. Below you can read about 10 living creatures that continue to live, resisting for years, decades, centuries and millennia. Well, let’s get started.
Did you know that there is a total of 22 species of albatrosses on the planet? Unfortunately, many are endangered and threatened with extinction (as many as 17 species). However, one of these endangered species is of particular interest to us. This is a near-threatened Laysan albatross, more specifically an individual named Wisdom. The average lifespan of a Laysan albatross is around 40 years, but it is important to note that they only lay eggs after the age of 8 or 9. Wisdom is currently the oldest albatross, and therefore a bird in the world.
This is a female banded in 1956 but estimated to be around 68-69 years old now. So far, amazing data has been collected. Wisdom, for example, flew more than 3 million miles, which is actually 6 times the distance from Earth to the moon and back. Important is that Wisdom lives in the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge and that she has hatched 30-40 eggs so far. Impressive, isn’t it?
Seychelles giant tortoise
It is known that certain types of tortoises can live for decades, for example those from Galapagos (famous Harriet lived about 170 years). Still, the oldest living tortoise in the world is the Seychelles giant tortoise, which was named Jonathan. According to scientists, Jonathan hatched around 1832, which means he is now about 188 years old. Compare that to the average human life (about 79 years), and you can easily understand that this giant tortoise from Seychelles is a true miracle.
Although we noted that Jonathan was actually descended from Seychelles, his home is the famous island of St. Helena, since 1882. This island is most famous because one of the greatest emperors in history, Napoleon, died here. Still, it was before Johnathan came to the island. Other impressive things, however, are that he lived during Queen Victoria reign, and that as many as 39 United States presidents came to power during his lifetime so far.
Thousand Year Rose
Have you ever heard of the small town of Hildesheim in Germany? If not, this small but beautiful place is famous for several things. First of all, there are plenty of medieval churches here. In addition, Hildesheim is home to the oldest rose bush. According to some sources, this shrub was planted more than a millennium ago, more precisely about 1200 years ago. It was planted by King Louis the Pious, under the eastern apse of the cathedral dedicated to St. Mary. The year assumed to be the year of planting the Rose of Hildesheim is 815.
Still, this is not all about Rosa canina. This plant has survived for many centuries, but the most significant moment was the bombing during World War II. Then, the cathedral was demolished to the ground. However, by the miracle or will of nature and God, the Rose of Hildesheim continued its life and flourished again. The current height of this amazing plant is about 21 meters.
Sacred Bodhi tree
Another plant that has been living for over two millennia is the so-called sacred Bodhi tree. It is located in Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi Temple in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. This tree is actually a sprout taken from the fig tree which is widely known as the tree where Siddhartha Gautama was enlightened and where he actually became Buddha. The unnamed royal devotee was taken it to Sri Lanka, where it was planted about 250 BC and is still here today.
According to legend, there is another tree that originated from the original tree in India and is found in Sravasti. Tree that has been living in the Mahamewna Gardens in Anuradhapura is alive for over two millennia. More specifically, it is estimated to be around 2,300 years old, which means that it is older than Jesus and our era. It is interesting that the tree was repeatedly exposed to damage (elephants, separatists), but still lives.
Another tree that is still active today and still yields is an olive seedling found in Greece. More specifically, this magnificent tree is located in Vouves, a village located on the island of Crete, in the Mediterranean Sea. It is estimated that the olive tree may have originated from seed, or was planted by man, but more importantly, it is between 2000 and 3000 years old. So, we can take middle value and say that the tree is about 2500 years old.
In any case, it is interesting that, to this day, a great number of people came to visit and admire this tree. Also, an interesting fact is that there is a museum nearby that has been dedicated to harvesting techniques in Crete since ancient times.
Blobs from the Andes Mountains
Let’s go further into the past. This plant called Yareta as well as llareta, is native to South America and lives in the Andes Mountains. At first glance, there is no doubt that it looks and resembles moss, however, this is a completely different kind of plant. The name of this plant is written as Azorella compacta in the textbooks, and we can say that the second part of the name describes it best. These green blobs are really compact and very durable. Namely, in the Andes, the climate is quite hostile to plants, especially those sensitive to frost. Still, Azorella compacta has no problem surviving in such conditions, even when drought.
Experts estimate that some specimens of this green shrub can be over three millennia old, which is really impressive. Such a conclusion is based on a fact that the plant grows very slowly, about one meter in a century!
If you ask an expert where the exact location of the oldest bristlecone pine is, he or she probably won’t be able to answer. However, this group of pines is actually made up of three species among which Methuselah is classified, the oldest pine found somewhere in the White Mountains of California. We say somewhere, because in fact its real location is not publicly available and is known only to scientists in order tree to stay protected.
What is common knowledge is that this type of pine is extremely resilient and can withstand harsh conditions. Its name, Methuselah, comes from the Old Testament. It is the name of the oldest man mentioned in the Bible (969 years). Longevity is the main feature of bristlecone pine and so is its binomial name, Pinus longaeva. It is interesting to say that this pine is actually the oldest non-cloned organism on our planet. When it comes to the age of the plant, it is estimated to be around 5,000 years old, which means older than the Egyptian pyramids.
Giant volcano sponge
Giant volcano sponge, or Anoxycalyx joubini, are organisms that are really huge. When we say huge, we mean it literally. These are bigger than an adult. The closest description of their outward appearance is that they look like giant barrels. The average depth at which these creatures can be found is from 50 to 500 feet. Their habitat is Antarctica, more specifically McMurdo Sound. This means that the environment is quite extreme and freezing. Yet these sponges have been able to survive for tens of millennia. Given the fact that they grow very slowly, the oldest specimens are estimated to be around 15,000 years old.
The Trembling Giant of Utah
The Trembling Giant of Utah is actually an entire forest consisting of an incredible number of as many as 50,000 trees. These are aspen trees, which formed a colony and are known as Pando. Even more fascinating is the fact that all trees share a single root system and are actually all genetically identical. It is also important to emphasize that each of the trees is actually male. Binomial name is Populus tremuloides.
The exact location of this massive forest is Fishlake National Forest, more specifically the Fremont River Ranger District. According to scientists, this forest is over 80,000 years old, which is fascinating.
The fact that this plant is called Neptune’s grass suggests that the location of its habitat is the bottom of the sea. More specifically, it is the Mediterranean Sea, near the Spanish coast. You must have heard of Ibiza Island, which is part of Spain’s Balearics. Well, this plant forms an underwater forest near an island called Formentera, not far from Ibiza. Mediterranean tapeweed is a self-cloned organism and many scientists agree that this is the oldest living creature on our planet. It is estimated that it has been in existence for more than 200,000 years.