The shelled cen­te­nar­i­ans

World of Animals - - Super Seniors -

As you’ll gather from this fea­ture, many of the long­est-lived species have a key thing in com­mon: they live in the ocean – par­tic­u­larly in deep wa­ters. It seems that a ma­rine habi­tat is sim­ply more con­ducive to a long life. This prob­a­bly has some­thing to do with the sta­ble en­vi­ron­men­tal con­di­tions af­forded hun­dreds of me­tres be­low the ocean sur­face, as well as few preda­tors and a slow-paced, or even ses­sile (sta­tion­ary) life­style.

On land, liv­ing to a grand age just seems harder. Us ter­res­trial an­i­mals have to put up with grav­ity, nat­u­ral dis­as­ters and ev­er­chang­ing weather, as well as lead­ing gen­er­ally more ac­tive lives.

One group of an­i­mals that seem to defy the odds are tor­toises, gi­ant species of which have an av­er­age age of 100. The old­est au­then­ti­cated age for a ch­e­lo­nian is at least 188 for a Mada­gas­car ra­di­ated tor­toise called Tu’i Malila, who was pre­sented to the Ton­gan royal fam­ily in the 1770s.

An­other an­cient ex­am­ple is Jonathan (right), a Sey­chelles gi­ant tor­toise who re­sides on the At­lantic isle of St He­lena and is a strong con­tender for the old­est liv­ing land an­i­mal. He was born circa 1832, which means that as of 2018 he could be as old as 186 – so he’s fast (well, slowly) catch­ing up with Tu’i Malila!

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.