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Monday, 30 July 2012

Some Really Long Living Creatures Compared To Us

Spark buzz  |  at  11:50  |   |  No comments

The Antarctic sponge
The absolute granddaddy of all long lived creatures on earth are the Antarctic sponges.  Just because the environment in which they exist is so cold and hostile, these remarkable creatures have evolved to grow unbelievably slowly, so much so that scientists firmly believe that at least  one specimen has lived for no less than 1,550 years. Research is jut beginning to reveal that these ancient organisms may well be hiding medicinal secrets that could answer many of the questions posed by modern heath officials. 


The Lamellibrachia Tube Worms
Colorful and extremely strange tube worms are found in deep sea waters, the most famous of them in the Gulf of Mexico, between 1500 and 2500 ft below the surface. Reaching 10 ft in length, and growing at very slow rates indeed, individuals can easily live over 250 years. Large groups, comprising up to several thousand individual worms, are the usual occurrence, with perhaps 100 different species gathered in the one place. Many are found only at these locations, known as seeps, where hydrocarbon vents, found on the ocean floor, spew out the minerals on which they feed.


The Giant Tortoise
Currently believed to be the longest living vertebrate on the planet, the Giant Tortoise is an amazing creature. An example known as Harriet, rumored to have been captured by Charles Darwin himself, was 176 years old, when died in an Australian zoo in 2006. Another specimen, of the  Aldabra species, also passed away in March 2006, and is thought to have been 255 years old at that time. The Aldabra are the only species remaining in the wild, less than twenty specimens on the Galapagos islands, of a creature with a history going back at least 250 million years.. 


The tantalising Tuatara
Considered to be living fossils, or even the last of the dinosaurs Tuataras have been flourishing for at least  200 million years, as a species, and are undoubtedly among the longest-living vertebrates on the planet. One captive Tuatara, known to be at least 111 years old, recently fathered its first egg, and there are suggestions that these animals can get to 200 years of age. Greenish brown in colour, measuring up to 30 in. in length, and weigh up to 3lbs., Tuataras have spiny crests along thier backs,  male ones being more pronounced. Two rows of upper jaw teeth overlap the one lower jaw  row, a feature unique amongst all living species. These unusual creatures also possess  a paretal eye, thought to be used in judging the cycle of the seasons.


The Geoduck or Saltwater Clam
A very popular seafood in the USA and around the world comes in the form of Clams, but Geoducks,  or Saltwater Clams, are actually among the longest living creatures on the planet, having a life expectancy averaging 146 years,  though there has been one recorded as being 160 years of age. It is thought that they live so long because of low wear and tear on their bodies.


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