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Over 400 years and not feel them: it is the Greenland shark (Somniosus microcephalus) the longest living vertebrate on the planet. A study published in Science and conducted on 28 specimens established that the beasts of the cold waters of the North Atlantic, which reach 5 m in length, grow just 1 cm per year and reach sexual maturity only at 150 years of age. Just the slow growth would be one of the keys to their success: one of the studied specimens - most of which ended up by mistake in fishing nets - was born in 1600. The analyzes were carried out by radiocarbon dating the lens of animals, formed by proteins that do not renew, and that kept track of radioactive events such as the nuclear tests of the 1960s. The previous most long-lived vertebrate was the Arctic whale: here is the Top 10 - excluding shark - of the other "Methuselah" animals.

10. Allocyttus verrucosus. Even the last of the list, a fish known as Allocyttus verrucosus, beats by far the longest living among humans. The diamond-shaped creature, which feeds on small fish and shellfish in shallow ocean waters, can live up to 140 years: 23 years longer than the older terrestrial "grandmother", who died in Japan a few days ago.

9. orange roughy fish. In ninth place another sea creature: as we will see, many of the longest-lived creatures on the planet are aquatic. The orange roughy (Hoplostethus atlanticus), widespread in the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans, can live up to 149 years. Perhaps one of the reasons for record survival lies in the slowness of growth and maturation of the animal, which takes 20 years to reach complete sexual development. The slowness of growth and reproductive is one of the recurrent features in such long-lived animals.

8. Aldabra giant tortoise. We leave the water, even if only slightly, to meet the first terrestrial of the list, the tortoise Aldabrachelys gigantea, native to the homonymous atoll in the archipelago of the Seychelles. These animals can live up to 152 years, and lay eggs once every two.

7. Sturgeon of the lakes. Acipenser fulvescens can also survive up to 152 years. The females of this freshwater fish common in North America take from 14 to 33 years only to reach reproductive maturity, and lay eggs only every 4-9 years. In comparison, the rainbow trout, spread in the same habitat, matures in 2-3 years, and lives just 11 years.

6. Sebastes borealis. This fish spread from the south-eastern waters of the Russian Kamchatka to the Californian ones can reach 157 years of life. Unless it is fished first: commercial fishing of bone fish in the Gulf of Alaska has been widespread since the 1960s. The beast can exceed one meter in length, per 20 kg of weight.

5. Galápagos tortoise. With Chelonoidis nigra, endemic to the South American archipelago, we make a quantum leap: the reptile, which reaches 400 kg in weight, can reach 177 years, with a minimum life expectancy estimated at around 150 years. A photo safari among the Galapagos Islands

4. Red sea urchin. It will be the diet based on algae, or the sharp exoskeleton that allows you to defend against predators: the fact is that the Mesocentrotus franciscanus can live up to 200 years and wins the fourth place in this unusual ranking.

3. Sebastes aleutianus. Another bone fish of the Sebastidae family is in third place: the Sebastes aleutianus (here in an illustration) a solitary fish common in the North Pacific, can live up to 205 years. It is in fact considered the longest living fish on our planet.

2. Greenland whale. Balaena mysticetus, also known as the Arctic whale, which can swim in the Arctic waters for 211 years, keeps the honor of cetaceans high. The animal can reach 20 meters in length, for a weight of 152 tons.

1. Oceanic clam. The oldest specimen of oceanic clam (Arctica islandica) never found was more than 400 years old: by far the most remarkable age ever achieved by a land animal. The bivalve, fished in the Icelandic seas in 2006, had been given an initial age of 405-410 years; but further analysis attributed it 507 years. The clam, nicknamed "Ming", was killed by mistake by the scientists who were trying to determine its age.

You might also like: The secrets of longevity Why do the Japanese live longer? Do small animals live less? Why do plants live longer than animals? Are the firstborn children up to a hundred years old? Over 400 years and not feel them: it is the Greenland shark (Somniosus microcephalus) the longest living vertebrate on the planet. A study published in Science and conducted on 28 specimens established that the beasts of the cold waters of the North Atlantic, which reach 5 m in length, grow just 1 cm per year and reach sexual maturity only at 150 years of age. Just the slow growth would be one of the keys to their success: one of the studied specimens - most of which ended up by mistake in fishing nets - was born in 1600. The analyzes were carried out by radiocarbon dating the lens of animals, formed by proteins that do not renew, and that kept track of radioactive events such as the nuclear tests of the 1960s. The previous most long-lived vertebrate was the Arctic whale: here is the Top 10 - excluding shark - of the other "Methuselah" animals.