The 12 Longest Living Animals That Roam the Earth

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In the human world, if you make it up to 90 years old or more, you’re considered to have remarkable longevity. But in the animal world, 90 years old is still considered a baby’s age. Some of these creatures have been around for so long that nowadays they’re considered living fossils since dinosaurs are their direct relatives.

Bright Side is encouraging you to take a look at some creatures that have been on Earth way longer than the human species and some of them were born when the Age of Discovery had not even started. And there’s a surprising bonus waiting for you at the end of the article!

1. Tuatara, over 110 years old

The Tuatara are small reptiles that inhabit New Zealand. They might look like lizards but in fact, they are a part of a distinct lineage related to dinosaurs who lived on Earth more than 200 million years ago. Though nowadays these species are endangered, some of them have a remarkably long life — over 110 years!

2. Orange roughy, 149 years old

The orange roughy is a slow-growing, long-living species. Their maximum longevity has been estimated to be as high as 149 years but nowadays it’s endangered due to overfishing.

3. Geoduck, 168 years old

The geoduck is a large clam native to the west coast of North America. It has a small shell compared to the soft part of its body, so it cannot hide inside of it. Geoducks are highly productive; their females produce over five billion eggs throughout their lifetimes. And it’s no surprise considering the fact that the oldest geoduck has been recorded to live until 168 years old.

4. A red sea urchin, around 200 years old

The red sea urchin can only be found in the Pacific Ocean. It lives on rocky shores and stays out of extremely wavy areas. Bodies of these species are completely covered by sharp spines which help them to protect themselves while crawling along the ocean floor. They’re aging very slow and due to that, some specimens can live for as long as 200 years.

5. Bowhead whale, 211years old

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Though the bowhead whale is not as famous as the blue whale, it does have some distinctive features that make it an outstanding species. First, the bowhead whale has the largest mouth among animals and second, these creatures can live over 200 years which makes them the longest living marine mammal. The oldest known bowhead whale was 211 years old.

6. Koi fish, 226 years old

Generally, koi fish live up to 50 years but one of their kind, a scarlet koi fish named Hanako, was the longest living fish ever recorded. She died at the age of 226 years and it’s still a mystery as to why a fish would live for so long. The majority of people stick to the opinion that the fish simply enjoyed its life, receiving the love and care of its owners and having the ability to swim in the clear waters of the Japanese mountains.

7. Lamellibrachia tube worms, up to 250 years old

The tubeworm species found deep in the Gulf of Mexico is able to live up to 250 years. They can reach lengths of over 10 ft but they grow very slowly. They can also form a biogenic habitat by creating large aggregations of hundreds to thousands of individuals.

8. Aldabra giant tortoise, 255 years old

Giant tortoises are quite famous for their incredible longevity but Adwaita the Aldabra giant tortoise was a truly unique animal that died at the age of 255 years. Many scientists consider it the oldest terrestrial animal to have ever lived.

9. Freshwater pearl mussels, 280 years old

Freshwater pearl mussels are a long-living species. They grow extremely slowly which is why their average lifespan ranges from 86 to 102 years, but it depends a lot on environmental factors such as water quality. The oldest freshwater pearl mussel found was 280 years old.

10. Greenland shark, 400 years old

Intimidating looks aren’t the only thing Greenland sharks can threaten people with — they’re also the oldest-known vertebrate to roam the Earth. They don’t reach reproductive maturity until around 150 years old and generally live for as long as 400 years.

11. Ocean quahog, 507 years old

Ocean quahog is a species of edible clam, a marine bivalve mollusk that lives a very long life adding one layer to its shell each year. They show exceptional longevity and a great example of this is Ming, the clam that lived for 507 years, the highest reported age among non-colonial species.

12. Giant barrel sponge, more than 2,000 years old

This is the largest species of sponge growing on Caribbean coral reefs. Scientists, using mathematical models, figured out that the largest individual ever found up to this date (now dead) was estimated to be 2,300 years old.

Bonus: immortal jellyfish

This “immortal” jellyfish can regenerate in a crisis. Instead of dying like all other species on Earth, the Turritopsis transform their adult cells into younger ones and then age backward to polyps. But that doesn’t mean they cannot die. The ocean is full of hungry species so they can be easily killed by predators or die because of disease.

If you had a chance to turn into one of these animals, which one would it be and why? Do you think that more long-living species would be endangered due to humanity’s massive impact on the planet? Every opinion matters, so let us know yours in the comments below.

Please note: This article was updated in July 2022 to correct source material and factual inaccuracies.


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Honestly, I kinda wish jellyfish would just stay adults forever, they age backwards and then become larvae again that won’t frickin leave you alone


This aquatic Mexican worms have the colors of the Mexican flag. They even look like a Mexican artcraft. What a cool coincidence.

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