10 animals with the longest lifespans

The animal kingdom is a fascinating, though sometimes cruel, place. And under ideal circumstances there are some animals with incredibly long lifespans.

Here’s a list featuring 10 of the animals with the longest lifespans in the world.

Some of these animals’ longevities might surprise you… There’s even an immortal animal on the list!

African Elephant – 70 years


African elephants are the largest land animals on Earth. They are slightly larger than their Asian cousins and can be identified by their larger ears that look somewhat like the continent of Africa – Asian elephants have smaller, rounded years.

Geoduck – 140 years


The Pacific geoduck, scientific name Panopea generosa, is a species of very large, edible saltwater clam in the family Hiatellidae. The geoduck is the largest burrowing clam in the world.

Tuatara – 100 to 200 years


It may look like a rather ordinary reptile, but it’s a highly unusual creature. This New Zealand native has a unique, ancient lineage that goes back to the time of the dinosaurs!

The Tuatara is the only living member of the order Rhynchocephalia. All other members of the order became extinct 60 million years ago, in the late Cretaceous period.

Red Sea Urchin – 200 years

28 Jul 2011, Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, California, USA --- California, Channel Islands. Giant red urchins, Strongylocentrotus franciscanus, and purple urchins crowd the top of a rock. Urchins are havested commercially for their roe (eggs). --- Image by © Ralph Clevenger/Corbis

The red sea urchin is a sea urchin found in the Pacific Ocean from Alaska to Baja California. It lives in shallow waters from the low-tide line to greater than 100 m (330 ft) deep, and is typically found on rocky shores sheltered from extreme wave action. Its spherical body is completely covered by sharp spines that can grow up to 8 cm.

Bowhead Whale – 200 years


This predominantly Arctic species has suffered from severe over-exploitation that has seen its range shrink considerably since the 17th Century.

With these large heads and powerful bodies, bowhead whales are capable of breaking through sea ice at least 20 cms thick.

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Giant Tortoise – 250 years


Giant tortoises are characteristic reptiles that are found on two groups of tropical islands: the Aldabra Atoll in Seychelles and the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador.

These animals belong to an ancient group of reptiles, appearing about 250 million years ago.

Greenland Shark – 200 to 500 years


The Greenland shark is an elusive creature of the cold, dark depths that scientists still know very little about.

Greenland sharks are part of the dogfish shark order, which holds many shark records: the oldest, the smallest, the longest pregnancies, and the shark that has the biggest estimated population in the world.

Ocean Quahog Clam – 400 to 500 years


The ocean quahog (Arctica islandica) is a species of clam that is exploited commercially. Researchers have interpreted the dark concentric rings or bands on the shell as annual marks, much like a tree has rings.

Antarctic Sponge – 1,000 to 2,000 years


Due to the extremely low temperatures of the Antarctic Ocean, this immobile creature has an extremely slow growth rate. Some estimate the oldest known specimens are 1,550 years old.

Immortal Jellyfish – Immortal


Turritopsis dohrnii, the immortal jellyfish, is a species of small jellyfish found in the Mediterranean Sea and in the waters of Japan. If it’s is exposed to environmental stress or physical assault, or is sick or old, it can revert to its infant, polyp stage, forming a new polyp colony.

It does this through the cell development process of transdifferentiation, which alters the differentiated state of the cells and transforms them into new types of cells.

Theoretically, this process can go on indefinitely, effectively rendering the jellyfish biologically immortal.

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