Which animal lives longest? Giant tortoises often live more than 100 years, but they aren't the longest-living animal its the sponge, below left (Smithsonian.com)
Which animal lives longest?
Lexile

Sticking with recorded history, the answer might surprise you. Its not elephants, which live for about 30 or 40 years. Its not giant tortoises either, even though they often ripen to be well over 100 years old. Its not even that record-breaking, 507-year-old Arctic clam named Ming.

Nope, the longest-living animal in the world is a sponge. Sponges are among the simplest animals on the planet headless, armless and completely void of internal organs. But theyre still technically animals. And the glass sponge can live for 15,000 years.

The only other animal that might give it a run for its money is the immortal jellyfish. Under normal circumstances it lives and dies just like any other jellyfish. But put it under extreme stress and guess what? It ages backwards!

It transforms all of its adult cells into a younger state. And it can do this de-aging thing over and over again. Kind of makes the oldest human a 122-year-old French woman who was named Jeanne seem downright young, doesnt it?

Critical thinking challenge: Is there any connection between a 100-year-old tortoise and a 100-year-old human?

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COMMENTS (21)
  • AJW239
    5/15/2014 - 10:50 a.m.

    Its amazing how any animal can even live that long. Couldnt we somehow find a way to make humans that long too? There is no way a hundred year old turtle and human have anything in common besides years of age. How does a sponge live 15,000 years you would think that it would fail after a few hundred.

  • isaacl-Orv
    5/15/2014 - 03:44 p.m.

    That is unbelievable! 15,000 years! I didn't even know that a sponge was considered an animal. What the article said about the jellyfish was also really interesting. Wow!

  • JolieH-5
    5/16/2014 - 01:33 a.m.

    The animal that lives the longest is not a 30-40 year old elephant, a 100+ year-old giant tortoise, or even a 507-year-old Arctic clam named Ming. The longest-living animal in the world is a sponge, among the simplest animals on the planet. Even headless, armless, and void of any internal organs, a glass sponge can still live for 15,000 years. The only possible challenger is the immortal jellyfish, which can go through a de-aging process over and over again. I think that it is incredible how long these animals can live. I have never thought about the general picture of aging life on the planet but I found this article very interesting.

  • LucP-5
    5/16/2014 - 10:25 a.m.

    This article talks about the oldest living animal on Earth. It is the glass sponge, and it can live up to 15,000 years. The only thing that might get a chance at beating this record is the immortal jellyfish. Instead of aging forward it can age backward. Not like the oldest human who is only 122 years old. I think that this is not really fair because a sponge is like a tree not an animal. I think that this record should go to Ming the clam.

  • KalynSi
    5/16/2014 - 01:53 p.m.

    The fact that the simplest thing in the world can live longer than an animal or human with a brain, arms, and legs is mind blowing.

  • DelilahG-3
    5/16/2014 - 07:06 p.m.

    There are many animals that live for a very long time and many that live longer for humans. Some of the animals that live long are elephants that live for 30-40 years, tortoises that live for over 100 years, and there is also a 507 year old calm named Ming. The longest living animal is a sponge. They are headless, organless, and also armless nut they are still considered to be animals. The glass sponge can live for up to 15,000 years. There is also another animal though that can compare to the life span of a sponge which is the immortal jellyfish. I think that this is a very interesting fact becauseI always thought that the tortoise lived the longest. I also think that living for 15,000 years would be awful even if you are a sponge.

  • KyleH-3
    5/16/2014 - 07:56 p.m.

    The oldest animal to live is not an elephants, or even a turtle. It's not even a record-breaking 507-year-old clam. Is shockingly a sponge. The sponge has no face or arms but is technically an animal. They can live up to 15,000 years. In my opinion that is really cool.

  • victors-Koc
    5/19/2014 - 11:27 p.m.

    to show that animals have their own special traits and can live for a long time, i use to think that the turtle was the longest living animals in the world but now I know it is a sponge.

  • victors-Koc
    5/19/2014 - 11:27 p.m.

    to show that animals have their own special traits and can live for a long time, i use to think that the turtle was the longest living animals in the world but now I know it is a sponge.

  • Zues3
    5/20/2014 - 07:30 p.m.

    I never knew that. If I was a scientist I would study it to see how it does it. Hopefully someday we can do the same thing. Maybe that's what I'll do when I'm older. Who knows.

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