Humans enjoy a relatively long lifespan compared with many of Earth’s creatures, yet some live just as long. And, what you might not know, some animals outlive us, by a lot. Let’s take a look at Earth’s exceptional creatures, those that reign over us in at least one capacity. Here is our list of the world’s longest-living organisms. Meet our evolutionary superiors.
The Greenland shark can live several centuries. Several centuries! It’s worth repeating. Consider: This fish, on average, is already twice as old as the United States. It’s an ocean dweller that can survive to be more than 500 years old. As a point of fact, one Greenland sharks have been tracked to live 512 years. This means the specimen hatched in the 1500s! It’s absolutely mind-boggling.
The Greenland shark (Somniosus microcephalus) is also known by common names such as the gurry and the grey shark. The species is native to the Arctic and North Atlantic and can grow to the amazing length of 24 feet long. Don’t try to lift it without a crane, they can weigh up to 2,600 pounds! But you probably won’t see it because it’s a bottom dweller that lurks deep beneath the surface where it devours everything in its path. It has no natural predators. This contributes to the fact that the Greenland shark is the longest-living vertebrate known.
Not only do elephants have a long lifespan, they are also incredibly intelligent. There’s a reason they have been the main attraction at circus shows time out of mind. They can identify languages, use tools and show empathy. The 2,000-pound animals have longer lifespans in the wild, as much as twice as long. On average, elephants live 60 to 70 years. In a zoo, on the other hand, they are usually dead by 30. In the wild, elephants enjoy grazing on expansive fields in large communities. Luckily, captivity conditions are improving.
Lin Wang, an elephant at the Taiwanese zoo lived to 86. The world’s oldest, Dakshayani, an Indian elephant in captivity, lived to 88. Dakshayani died in February 2019. Poachers kill about 100 elephants per day. They are killed for their ivory tusks. The beasts are at risk of extinction, even though man is its only natural predator. Elephants (Elephantidae proboscidea) have existed since the Paleolithic period. There are, however, subspecies. The African bush elephant (Loxodonta Africana), the African forest elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis) and the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus).