Oldest Living Things in the World (Pictures)

Rachel Sussman shows photographs of the world’s oldest continuously living organisms — from 2,000-year-old brain coral off Tobago’s coast to an “underground forest” in South Africa that has lived since before the dawn of agriculture.

This is an amazing project from Rachel Sussman. See the pictures below of the oldest living things in the world.

La Llareta (Up to 3,000 years old; Atacama Desert, Chile) – The extraordinary 3,000-year-old relative of parsley that looks like moss but is a shrub grows in the Atacama desert in the high Andes at an altitude of 15,000ft. Measuring 8-10ft across, it inhabits the surface of smooth, round boulders. It is a dense mass of thousands of tiny branches, each ending in a bud with tiny green leaves, and is so tough you can stand on top of it.
[image title=”LA LLARETA” size=”full” id=”1196″ align=”center” ]

Welwitschia Mirabilis (2,000 years old; Namib Naukluft Desert, Namibia) – Welwitschia mirabilis is the only member in the family Welwitschiaceae and is one of the more bizarre plants on the planet.
[image title=”Welwitschia Mirabilis” size=”full” id=”1197″ align=”center” ]

Bristlecone Pine (Up to 5,000 years old; White Mountains, CA) – Read other world’s oldest trees here.
[image title=”Bristlecone Pine” size=”full” id=”1198″ align=”center” ]

Siberian Actinobacteria (400,000 – 600,000 years old; Niels Bohr Institute, Copenhagen) – This specimen had been gathered from the permafrost and was being kept in Copenhagen, where she photographed it. “The Siberian actinobacteria are half a million years old and live in the permafrost. If the permafrost isn’t permanent, the oldest living things on the planet will die,” she says.
[image title=”Siberian Actinobacteria” size=”full” id=”1199″ align=”center” ]

Jomon Sugi, Japanese Cedar (2,180 to 7,000 years old; Yaku Shima, Japan)
[image title=”Jomon Sugi” size=”full” id=”1200″ align=”center” ]

Spruce Gran Picea (9,550 years old; Fulufjället, Sweden) – Read other world’s oldest trees here.
[image title=”Spruce Gran Picea” size=”full” id=”1201″ align=”center” ]

Lichen R. Geographicum (≈ 3,000 years old; Alanngorsuaq, Greenland)
[image title=”Lichen R. Geographicum” size=”full” id=”1202″ align=”center” ]

Creosote Bush (12,000 years old; Mojave Desert, CA)
[image title=”Creosote Bush” size=”full” id=”1203″ align=”center” ]

Sagole Baobab (2,000 years old; Limpopo Province, South Africa) – Read other world’s oldest trees here.
[image title=”Sagole Baobab” size=”full” id=”1204″ align=”center” ]

Pando, Clonal Colony of Quaking Aspens (80,000 years old; Fish Lake, UT)
[image title=”Clonal Colony of Quaking Aspen” size=”full” id=”1205″ align=”center” ]

Underground Forest (13,000 years old; Pretoria, South Africa) – Botanists believe the 13,000-year-old underground forest in Pretoria evolved to survive forest fires. All that is visible are the tips of the branches poking out of the soil. But beneath the ground is a mass of branches and roots.
[image title=”Underground Forest” size=”full” id=”1206″ align=”center” ]

Brain Coral (2,000 years old; Speyside, Tobago) – This 18ft-wide brain coral off the shore of Speyside on the east coast of Tobago in the Caribbean is 2,000 years old. To take the shot, Sussman had to overcome her fear of open water, take diving lessons and learn how to use her camera underwater.
[image title=”Brain Coral” size=”full” id=”1207″ align=”center” ]

Mojave Yucca (12,000 + years old; Mojave Desert, California)
[image title=”Mojave Yucca” size=”full” id=”1208″ align=”center” ]

Photo credits go to Rachel Sussman. Note: Rachel Sussman is on a quest to celebrate the resilience of life by identifying and photographing continuous-living organisms that are 2,000 years or older, all around the world.