Happy Old Age for Long-Lived Animals


In the year 2019, the average life expectancy of humans worldwide was 72.6 years. According to the data of UNO, in Scandinavia, people have lived as long as 70 years as early as in the year 1950 and now live up to 82 years thanks to the great state of health. However, in the wild (and even in captivity), some creatures live much longer. For example, cockatoo and tortoises can live more than one hundred years, bowhead whales — around two hundred years. Here is the ranking of the most fascinating long-living animals and their secrets.

Care About Someone Helps Living Longer

Female of Laysan albatross living in the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge of the Pacific Ocean is the world’s oldest bird. Her name is Wisdom, and she has also become the oldest bird-mother in the year 2018. She was 69 years old when she has laid another egg. During her life, this female albatross have fostered 36 fledglings. Her state of health is closely monitored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The scientists name several reasons why large birds live a long life. The first one is their size. The larger is the animal, the more chances it has to live long. For example, a cockatoo lives up to one hundred years; the red-tailed hawk can live more than twenty-five years, while a hummingbird’s lifespan is only 9 years. The second reason is caring about fledgling birds. The longer a female bird cares for fledglings, the more chances they have to live a long life. For example, the baby bluebird (which grows only up to 15 cm in length) spends one month in the nest, and some of these birds live up to 10 years. The same principle works for both relative and community care: those crows who live in flocks have more chances to protect fledglings from predators and other dangers than birds living alone. It looks like that people could borrow his pattern from birds. Besides, in some countries, the system seems to work. For example, in Italy, children leave their parents’ houses in their forties after starting their own family and having children, while others prefer to live in a family clan with 3-4 generations under the same roof permanently. The life expectancy in Italy is 83.1 years.

The Healing Cold Water

Marine mammals are another example of animals who live by the humans’ principle for good health and long life, “Cold, hunger, and rest.”

The standard life expectancy of longfin eels living near the shores of New Zealand is 60 years, but there is a registered case when the fish had lived two times longer: 106 years.

Don Moore, the director of the Oregon Zoo in Portland, considers that the cold water decreases the body temperature of fish and sea mammals and slows down the metabolism, leading to less damage to tissues. This is why the bowhead whales, just to take an example, live more than 200 years.

The bivalve quahog mollusk, washed ashore in Icelandic water in the year 2006, had lived even longer. The scientists have calculated the number of annual rings on its shell and have found that it was “born” in the year 1499. He could have possibly lived much longer than the record-breaking 507 years if he had remained on the ocean floor.

Good Sleep as a Way to Stay Healthy

On the surface, the record of longevity belongs to the giant Galapagos tortoises. One of them, known as Lonesome George, has lived more than one hundred years in solitude. George had lived on the Pinta Iceland, which one of the desert Galapagos islands. He was found there in 1971 and one year after was brought into the Tortoise Center on Santa Cruz by the rangers of the local National Park in hopes of finding George a match.

But these hopes were frustrated as he was the last of Pinta tortoises. Still, George has lived another 50 years. Similar to other giant tortoises, he was sleeping 16 hours a day, drinking lots of water and dieting from time to time. The workers of the National Park kept a close eye on Lonesome George’s diet, making sure he had an optimal daily regime. Frankly speaking, humans could also benefit from it. Of course, there is no need to sleep 16 hours a day but enough to have energy while not forgetting about proper diet.

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