• Weird Nature

The 10 Oldest Living Things On Earth

This list of the oldest living things on Earth, including the oldest animals, species, and organisms, will definitely make you feel young. You could probably nitpick some of these life forms within a million years here, a million years there... but the fact remains that these animals have been around a loooong time. What are the oldest living organisms on earth? And more importantly how have they stuck around this long?

These ancient organisms have been around for millions, or ever billions of years and have achieved apparent perfection in their environment. Millennia have passed, and they keep on keeping on. Sure, a tail might shorten, an extra tentacle might grow, or they might develop a more streamlined coat of armor... but, like that guy you know with the haircut he's had since high school, these animals have asked themselves the question: Why change it if it's working?

These are the oldest living things on the planet, and they just might still be here long after we are nothing more than fossils found buried in a pile of styrofoam take-out boxes.

Photo:
  • Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Sturgeon

    Age: 200 million years old

    Sturgeon and related paddlefish have undergone remarkably little morphological change, indicating that their evolution has been slow and earning them informal status of "living fossils." This is explained, in part, by their long inter-generation time, tolerance for wide ranges of water temperature and salinity, lack of predators due to size, and the abundance of prey items in their benthic environment.
  • Martialis Heureka

    Age: 100 million years old

    The most primitive species of living ants, the DNA of the Martialis heureka (which roughly translates to "From Mars! Wow!") has barely changed in the last 100 million years. This species was discovered in the Amazon in 2000, and generally lives its life underground.