Really long-lived creatures.

tony leather By tony leather, 29th Apr 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/3jdpcny5/
Posted in Wikinut>News>Education

Recent research is just now indicating that these ancient creatures could be hiding medicinal secrets answering many of the most vexing medical questions today.

Really long-lived creatures.



With human life expectancy on the rise, many people alive today will reach 100 years old yet still humanity has long had a burning ambition to extend life-span even more, so far without any real success. Perhaps we need to study more carefully those creatures living on earth today that make humanity seem positively short-lived.

Longest lived creatures on earth by far are Antarctic sponges, which, due to the environment in which they exist being so cold and hostile, have evolved to grow at unbelievably slow rates, to the extent that scientists firmly believe one specimen at least to have lived for 1,550 years at least. Recent research is just now indicating that these ancient creatures could be hiding medicinal secrets answering many of the most vexing medical questions today.

A truly strange-looking group of colorful tube worms, found in deep sea waters between 1500 and 2500 ft down are also incredibly long-lived, over decades reaching up to 10 ft in length, growing very slowly indeed rates indeed over at least 250 years. Usually found in groups of several thousand individuals worms, as many as 100 species gathered together, and mostly found at seeps, where ocean floor hydrocarbon vents, spew out the minerals which feed these creatures.

The longest living vertebrate currently known of on the planet, the Giant Tortoise is an amazing creature, one known as Harriet, rumored captured by Charles Darwin himself, reached 176 years before passing away at in 2006 at an Australian zoo. Another of these Aldabra species tortoises died in March the same year, believed to have been 255 years old. These are the only giant wild species left, less than 20 on the Galapagos islands, of a 250 million year-old species.

Among the longest-living vertebrates on the planet, and regarded by some as living fossils, or last of the dinosaurs. Tuataras, as a species, have been flourishing for at least 200 million years. One captive example recently fathered a first egg at 111 years of age, suggestions that these animals can reach 200 years of age are not uncommon. Tuataras are greenish brown, up to 30 in. long, weighing up to 3lbs. They have spiny back crests, male ones more pronounced and two rows of upper jaw teeth over-lapping the single lower jaw row, a unique feature. Also possessing a paretal eye, thought used in judging seasonal cycles, these are highly unusual creatures.

Actually among the longest living creatures on the planet, as well as being a very popular seafood in the USA and around the world, Geo-ducks or Saltwater Clams have a life expectancy averaging 146 years, though one at160 years of age has been recorded, these creatures believed. to live so long because of low bodily wear and tear.

These are some wonderful examples of how nature equips some creatures to deal with adversity, giving them metabolic rates much slower than those of we poor humans, so that they live far longer than we can ever hope to do, and what stories some of them could tell, if only.

Tags

Examples, Life-Spans, Longevity, Nature, Really Long-Lived Creatures

Meet the author

author avatar tony leather
mainly non-fiction articles, though I do write short stories, poetry and descriptive prose as well. Have been writing for over ten years now

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
29th Apr 2012 (#)

With increased lifespan comes other issues too, mostly how to care for the elderly and those concerned with world overpopulation suggest that longevity is a huge part of the problem, if people want to live longer they need to slow down population growth in exchange, like on Star Trek where people on one planet decided to live for ever but realized they could not have kids because if they did the planet would be unsustainable.

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