The longest a human being has ever lived so far is a little over a hundred years and those cases are few and far between. The average lifespan of a person is probably 75 to 80 years. And that’s for humans who have lived a generally healthy life in both body, mind and spirit. But immortality is way out of our reach.
If there ever was such a thing as immortality, certain non-human creatures possess this unlikely attribute. Many of these species have been around for ages and can live up to hundreds of years, far surpassing human beings.
Here’s a rundown of said creatures. Some of the names on this list are out of this world, but apparently, some of them can actually survive even outside the earth!
Believe it or not, that sumptuous, expensive seafood dish is a resilient one. Lobsters get bigger and more fertile as they age and apparently, their size has no limit. They can live for over 100 years and weigh as much as 20 kilograms—the size of a child! Unless they are killed by other sea predators or humans, or when vulnerable while shedding their exoskeletons. Few have been known to die of exhaustion when shedding. According to the smithsonianmag.com, scientists have no way of knowing the real lifespan of lobsters because when they molt their exoskeletons, they shed everything with it that would indicate age.
Turtles don’t have those hard, sturdy shells for nothing. They are able to live for hundreds of years. In fact, one that was transported by scientist Charles Darwin to Australia centuries ago died in 2006! A factor for their almost-immortality is their organs stay intact over time.
The term black widow comes to mind when coming across the bdelloid, not because it looks like a spider but because of how it thrives. The bdelloid is an all-female species that survives by latching onto other creatures and sucking out their DNA. They can flourish without hydration for as long as nine years and withstand radiation 100 times more than humans can.
Regeneration is usually a key to survival and the planarian is one creature that does just that. It bypasses the aging cycle by regenerating its enzymes to prevent them from eroding during DNA replication. Even if they’re beheaded, their heads regrow into brand new ones.
It sends shivers down the spine that a species from the same family as Bruce the shark in Jaws is one of the almost immortal ones. Out of the many types of sharks, the Greenland shark is the only one that can live up to 200 years. It’s also the only one of its kind that can survive in below freezing temperatures all year round. Don’t even consider shark soup. Their flesh is poisonous and can actually kill you.
East African Giant Snail
In terms of physical appearance, East African giant snails look like regular snails, except they can grow up to eight inches long. And for reasons unknown to the East African locals, these species seem to be survivors, no matter how many methods have been used to kill them. The locals have tried pesticides, poisons, unleashing other predators to devour the snails, and even flame throwers. But none of these techniques worked and thus, the giant snails continue to multiply.
The longest living mammal on earth has survived to 211 years. The bowhead whale is a survivor through and through because when one whale was killed in 2007, marine experts found that there was a harpoon stuck in its blubber. And the harpoon dated back 130 years! So apparently, that harpoon didn’t do any damage to the massive creature in the least.
Contrary to the name of the species, the water bear isn’t a big brown bear that swims like a fish. Also known as a tardigrade, it’s actually a centipede-looking water-based microorganism that was given the funny nickname water bear because scientists say it “moves as smoothly as a bear.” An impressive attribute of the tardigrade is that it can adapt to any situation, including imminent danger. During instances of self-preservation, it stops its metabolism process and promptly dries out. Once its environment stabilizes, it returns to normal form. One of the most resilient species by far, their adaptation skills enable them to survive in any environment they’re placed in, whether at -273 Celsius temperatures, at which point they take on a frozen form; boiling water; radiation; and outer space!
Who would have thought that a clam could live up to more than 500 years? And the only reason that one particular clam died was that scientists accidentally killed it while studying the creature. It was approximately 507 years old and would have probably lived even longer, if human intervention didn’t happen. Clams’ properties consist of extremely slow cell replacement, which means they can stay in a stable, mature state under the sea for a good 150 years.
Tree Weta (a.k.a. Zombie Bug)
The unofficial name of this species is zombie bug, partly because of its physical appearance. The tree weta looks like a cross between a giant cockroach and a cricket and it lives underground or on tree crevices. What makes them survive is their ability to freeze themselves through a special protein that they secrete, a protein which helps maintain their blood flow even in their frozen state.
This complex-sounding thing is actually just a glass sponge, but it goes by the scientific name hexactinellid. It can live for a jaw-dropping 15,000 years, so many of the creatures that are alive today were around during Biblical times. Since they carry so much history in them, scientists extract water from the species in order to learn about the fascinating ancient times.
It’s one of the oldest species that still survives today, dating back to the earth’s original continent, Pangaea. The lungfish is one of the only sea creatures that can live outside of water when such instances as a drought happens. They bury themselves deeply under the sand and secrete a mucous-like substance to cocoon their bodies, giving them the necessary hydration for them to live. So in other words, they can stay buried alive for long periods of time, until they make their way back to water.
Turritopsis Dohrnii (a.k.a. Immortal Jellyfish)
The biggest survivor in the world of living things goes by the scientific name of turritopsis dohrnii or in layman’s terms, the immortal jellyfish. And they apparently live forever, come hell or high water. After these jellyfish reach full maturity, they start to age, but at the end of the aging process, instead of deteriorating, they turn back into little polyps. In other words, they just keep regenerating and that’s why the jellyfish population just scarily keeps growing.