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The Oldest Living Creatures 5/5

 

The previous part of the series The oldest living creatures (4/5) ON THIS LINK (<- CLICK)

 

There are even creatures older than Posidonia (<- CLICK). Much older.

The integrated ocean drilling program, which gathers scientists around the world, has drilled a hole of 2 and a half miles to the sea bottom.

In extracted samples from holes, they found microorganisms that are several million years old! Incredibly but they were not even frozen or hibernating, but they normally lived there, under the sea and miles below the earth, in the unchanged environment since 3.5 billion years ago when life has started on our planet.

These microorganisms are replicated on average every 10,000 years. Though they are definitely alive and active, their extreme slowness has convinced some scientists that because of the shortage of food and energy they have developed some sort of life in hibernation. They are so sluggish that even when geochemists discovered them, it took them 7 years of monitoring to make sure that these microorganisms are actually alive – just very, very slow. You may have thought that the beings of this age would be a rare exception, but a multitude of species from three major groups were discovered: viruses, bacteria and fungi. Estimated lifetime of most of them? 100 million years.

 

In the picture: The whole ecosystem is deep, deep down, and we have only drilled a random spot across the planet. What we would find than if we drilled the most exciting spot on the planet? Enlarged 5000 times.

 

If global cataclysm ever occurs and destroys the whole planet, it is likely that life, from these quiet depths, will go back to the surface and colonize the world. Human civilization may be destroyed by great asteroid, but it would be difficult to completely deprive our planet of life.

It is difficult to imagine creatures that would live for more than a million years. These individual microorganisms have lived longer than the entire human race, longer than all species.

Finally, as an interesting feature, we present you the species that are biologically immortal. These beings regularly die of illnesses, predators, and accidents, but have no aging process. Hydras are the most famous example of this; after they grow in a dozen days they no longer change. If they are not being hindered, biologists are convinced they live eternally. The first hydra appeared on the Earth about 600 million years ago, but it is unlikely that any of them would survive a dangerous environment.

 

In the picture: Although there are a lot of exotic species of life, the longest living being is animal – scientists agree that hydras are immortal.

 

… Finally, congratulations to the group of mice at the Jackson Laboratory in America. Being 4 and a half years old, they are now the oldest mice in the world, now officially older than my half-eaten pickled cucumbers.

 

 

The Beginning of the Series The Oldest Living Beings (1/5) ON THIS LINK (<- CLICK)

 

 

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