October 20, 2021

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The longest living animals on Earth

The animal kingdom boasts some incredibly long lifespans that far exceed the average human’s. While humans may have an “absolute limit” of 150 years, this is just a blink of an eye compared with the centuries and millennia that some animals live through; and some animals can even stop or reverse the aging process altogether.  

Although there are very long-living land animals (the oldest tortoise, for example, is nearly 190 years old), none of them make this list — the true age champions all live in water. From old to oldest, here are 10 of the longest living animals in the world today.  

1. Bowhead whale: potentially 200+ years old

Aerial view of a bowhead whale in the Sea of Okhotsk in Russia.  (Image credit: by wildestanimal via Getty Images)

Bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus) are the longest living mammals. The Arctic and subarctic whales’ exact lifespan is unknown but stone harpoon tips found in some harvested individuals prove that they comfortably live over 100 years, and may live more than 200 years, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).