The Oldest Living Things in the World

POSIDONIA OCEANIA SEA GRASS #0910-0753, 100,000 YEARS OLD, BALEARIC ISLANDS, SPAIN

At 100,000 years old, the Posidonia sea grass meadow was first taking root at the same time some of our earliest ancestors were creating the first known “art studio” in South Africa. It lives in the UNESCO-protected waterway between the islands of Ibiza and Formentera

SPRUCE GRAN PICEA, 9,550 YEARS OLD; FULUFJÄLLET, SWEDEN

SPRUCE GRAN PICEA, 9,550 YEARS OLD; FULUFJÄLLET, SWEDEN

This 9,950-year-old tree is like a portrait of climate change. The mass of branches near the ground grew the same way for roughly 9,500 years, but the new, spindly trunk in the center is only 50 or so years old, caused by warming at the top of this mountain plateau in Western Sweden

ANTARCTIC MOSS, 5,500 YEARS OLD; ELEPHANT ISLAND, ANTARCTICA
ANTARCTIC MOSS, 5,500 YEARS OLD; ELEPHANT ISLAND, ANTARCTICA

This 5,500-year-old moss bank lives right around the corner from where the Shackleton Expedition was marooned 100 years ago on Elephant Island, Antarctica. It was a victory simply being able to locate it. These days it’s easier to get to Antarctica from space

LA LLARETA, 2,000+ YEARS OLD; ATACAMA DESERT, CHILELA LLARETA, 2,000+ YEARS OLD; ATACAMA DESERT, CHILE

What looks like moss covering rocks is actually a very dense, flowering shrub that happens to be a relative of parsley, living in the extremely high elevations of the Atacama Desert.

RARE EUCALYPTUS, 13,000 YEARS OLD; NEW SOUTH WALES, AUSTRALIARARE EUCALYPTUS, 13,000 YEARS OLD; NEW SOUTH WALES, AUSTRALIA

This critically endangered eucalyptus is around 13,000 years old, and one of fewer than five individuals of its kind left on the planet. The species name might hint to heavily at its location, so it has been redacted.

BRISTLECONE PINE, WHITE MOUNTAINS, CALIF.

BRISTLECONE PINE, WHITE MOUNTAINS, CALIF.

Bristlecone pines are the oldest unitary organisms in the world, known to surpass 5,000 years in age. In the 1960s a then-grad student cut down what would have been the oldest known tree in the world while retrieving a lost coring bit. A cross section of that tree was placed in a Nevada casino.

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