This Is What the Oldest Living Organisms Look Like

And I thought I was old! Thanks to the work of people like Rachel Sussman ((Web site: Rachel Sussman)), I get a better perspective on age. ;) Seriously, though, her recent photography collection about some of the oldest living organisms on Earth is something to marvel at. She went trotting around the world to capture amazing things with her camera, bringing science to life for us.

This photo is of Siberian Actinobacteria, which is supposed to anywhere from 400,000 to 600,000 years old. Ancient is an understatement! What’s even more amazing is that these organisms live in permafrost and they do DNA repair even in that state!

This is La Llareta, or Yareta. Is it a rock covered in moss? It may look like it, but it is actually a shrub which has so many tiny branches packed together. The green color is actually its leaves. It is said that the branches is so dense that it can support you if you stand on top of it. This shrub can be found in South America – 15,000 feet above sea level!

This tree is located in Sweden, and has been there for about 9,550 years old. It’s called Spruce Gran Picea.

Going to the United States, you’ll also see really old living things. This is a clonal colony of Quaking Aspens, which are 80,000 years old. If trees could talk, I wonder what stories they would tell!

Here is another really old tree – a Japanese Cedar which could be anywhere from 2,180 to 7,000 years old. That gnarly bark is so beautiful, don’t you think?

Rachel Sussman’s work perfectly underlines the fact that we are but a small part of this world, and that leaves me amazed on this Friday morning.

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