Every living organism on this planet has a life cycle unique to it, but arguably predictable. That is to say, while lifespans may differ from life-form to life-form, all beings eventually age. There are those, however, who defy the odds and continue to survive and thrive in years well beyond the norm. From 2,000-year-old trees to 80-year-old cockatoos, these are some of the oldest souls that have been and are still on Earth.
1. Debby the Polar Bear
Debby is a polar bear that was certified in 2008 by Guinness World Records as the oldest polar bear, before her passing at 42 years of age.
2. Number 16, the Spider
(By Toby Hudson, Wikimedia Commons)
Number 16, who lived in Western Australia’s North Bungulla Reserve and died in 2016 at age 43, was the oldest living armored trapdoor spider.
3. Elly the Black Rhino
Elly was a black rhino born in the wild who lived for an estimated 45 years as a resident of the San Francisco Zoo in California till her passing in 2017.
4. Andreas the Brown Bear
The ARCTURUS Bear Sanctuary, in northern Greece, was home to a European brown bear named Andreas, the oldest bear in the world who lived to the age of 50.
5. Nonja, the Orangutan
Nonja, a female Sumatran orangutan, is believed to have been the World’s oldest orangutan, living to the ripe old age of 55.
6. Ol' Billy, the Horse
(By Simon Speed, Wikimedia Commons)
This is Ol’ Billy, the oldest horse ever recorded in history, whose age was verified as 62 at the time of his passing.
7. Creme Puff, the Cat
Meet Creme Puff, the world’s oldest cat, who lived till age 38. Creme Puff's owner had another cat, Granpa, who lived to 34. The longevity of the two cats may be up to an unusual diet of turkey bacon, eggs, asparagus, broccoli, and creamed coffee.
8. Wisdom, the Albatross
(By DickDaniels, Wikimedia Commons)
This is Wisdom, a female Laysan albatross, and the oldest living wild and banded bird, who is now age 68 and has successfully laid an egg every year since 2006.
9. Thaao, the Condor
(By Pedro Szekely, Wikimedia Commons)
The Andean condor, Thaao, residing in Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo lived for 80 long years.
10. Muja, the Alligator
(By PetarM, Wikimedia Commons)
Muja is an American alligator who reached 80 years of age while in captivity at Belgrade Zoo, Serbia.
11. Cookie, the Cockatoo
(By Nimesh M, Wikimedia Commons)
Cookie was a resident of Brookfield Zoo, located near Chicago, and lived to the age of 83 before passing away in 2016.
12. Greater, the Flamingo
(By Les Haines, Wikimedia Commons)
The oldest greater flamingo, affectionately named Greater, also passed away at 83 years of age in 2014.
13. Lin Wang, the Elephant
Lin Wang was a very special Asian elephant who served in the Chinese Expeditionary Force between 1937 to 1945, after which he was relocated to Taipei Zoo where he lived out the remainder of his 86 years.
14. Henry, the Tuatara
(By KeresH, Wikimedia Commons)
121-year-old Henry is a tuatara, a lizard-like reptile, endemic to New Zealand and residing in the Southland Museum, who became a father in 2009.
15. Jonathan, the Tortoise
(By David Stanley, Wikimedia Commons)
This Seychelles giant tortoise residing on the island of Saint Helena, named Jonathan, is believed to be approximately 187 years old, making him the oldest known terrestrial animal currently living.
16. Tu'i Malila, the Tortoise.
Tu'i Malila was a female radiated tortoise and was verified as the oldest living tortoise at the time of her death in 1965, at 188 years of age
17. Adwaita, the Tortoise
(By Rufus46, Wikimedia Commons)
Adwaita, a giant male Aldabra tortoise previously residing at Alipore Zoo, Kolkata, India, passed away in 2006 at the age of 288, making him the oldest living animal on the planet at the time.
18. Granny, the Orca Whale
(By Leigh Calvez, Wikimedia Commons)
This is Granny, also known as J2, a killer whale who died in 2015. Her age was estimated by some sources as 60-85 though others estimate it at 105 years, which would have made her the oldest orca to have lived
19. Methuselah, the Pine Tree
(By Oke, Wikimedia Commons)
Methuselah is a Great Basin bristlecone pine (Pinus longaeva) that grows in the White Mountains of California, nearly 5,000 years old, having the greatest verified age of any tree in the world.
20. The Llangernyw Yew
(By Emgaol, Wikimedia Commons)
Located in the churchyard of Llangernyw, a village in North Wales is the Llangernyw Yew, believed to be aged somewhere between 4,000 and 5,000 years.
21. President, the Sequoia
(By Bradluke22, Wikimedia Commons)
The President tree is a giant sequoia located in the Sequoia National Park, in California and is the oldest confirmed living sequoia, aged approximately 3,200 years.
22. Kayano Osugi, the Sugi Tree
(By Namazu-tron, Wikimedia Commons)
Great sugi of Kayano is a sugi tree (also known as a Cryptomeria) found in the Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan. In 1928, its age was estimated to be approximately 2,300 years old.
23. King Clone, the Bush Ring
(By Klokeid, Wikimedia Commons)
Deep in the Mojave Desert is King Clone, the oldest creosote bush ring and one of the oldest living things on Earth, aged approximately 11,700 years.
24. Old Tjikko, the Spruce
(By Karl Brodowsky, Wikimedia Commons)
Old Tjikko is a Norway spruce located in Sweden, aged around 9,500 years old that has survived the centuries by constantly regenerating limbs, trunks, and branches.
25. Pando, the Aspen Tree Colony
(By J Zapell, Wikimedia Commons)
Located in the heart of Fishlake National Forest in Utah, Colorado is a colony of clonal individual male trees of quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides). The root system of this, the Pando colony is aged 80,000 years and is among the oldest living organisms in the world.
26. Yareta, the Flower Plant
Yareta (Azorella compacta), also known as Llareta, is a small flowering plant, commonly located on the slopes of the Puna grasslands in the Andes Mountain Range in South America. Some of these plants are estimated to be aged approximately 3,000 years.
27. Jōmon Sugi, the Sugi Tree
(By Chris 73, Wikimedia Commons)
Another larger cryptomeria tree (yakasugi), with the name Jōmon Sugi, is located in a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Yakushima, Japan, and is believed to be aged between 5,000 and 7,000 years old.
28. Hanako, the Koi Fish
The oldest confirmed koi fish to have lived, Hanako (translated to “flower girl” in Japanese) was a scarlet koi that reportedly lived till the age of 226.