What Is the Oldest Living Thing in the World?

According to an analysis published in the journal PLos ONE, the oldest living thing in the world is an ancient seagrass known as Posidonia oceanic. Australian scientists estimated it to be approximately 200,000 years old when it was discovered in the Mediterranean sea, from Spain to Cyprus, in 2012. Scientists believe that the seagrass is able to live so long because it is asexual.

It can reproduce on its own and essentially clone itself as needed. Over time, as Posidonia oceanic expands by growing more branches. Each individual patch of the seagrass weighs about 6,000 tons and takes up about 10 miles (16 km) over the Mediterranean sea.

The second oldest living thing in the world is believed to be a 43,000 year old Tasmanian shrub, Lomatia tasmanica.

More about the oldest living things on Earth:

  • A French woman named Jeanne Calment is considered the person who lived the longest in documented history, and was 122 when she died in 1997.
  • An Antarctic sponge is thought to be the oldest living animal at an estimated 10,000 years old.
  • The Giant Basin Bristlecone Pine tree is the oldest tree, at over 5,000 years old.

Discussion Comments


@anon991439-- Yes, the scientists took DNA samples.

Seagrass is a very resilient organism but unfortunately it's in decline because of human activities and development on the coasts. The changes in seawater temperature are also having a negative effect on them.


How is the age of an Antarctic sponge, Bristlecone Pine, and Mediterranean seagrass determined? Did researchers take DNA samples?

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