Oldest Living Thing on Earth Found: Why is it in Decline?

Filed in Gather News Channel by on February 7, 2012 0 Comments

The oldest living thing on Earth has been discovered. What has been alive the longest on the planet? It is giant seagrass in the Mediterranean Sea. These ancient weeds are up to 200,000 years old. Oh the things they have seen in all that time! However, this plant could be in trouble due to climate change.

Oldest Living Thing on Earth Found: Why is it in Decline?The official name of the giant seagrass is Posidonia oceanic, and it grows in underwater meadows that span 2,000 miles between Spain and Cyprus. While the dating for the oldest living thing ranges anywhere from 12,000 to 200,000 years, it is still older than the previous title holder, which was a youthful Tasmanian plant, weighing in at a mere 43,000 years old. Officials believe the seagrass is at least 100,000 years old.

The reason this ancient giant seagrass has lived so long is because it both reproduces asexually and produces clones of itself. Professor Carlos Duarte said, “They are continually producing new branches. They spread very slowly and cover a very large area giving them more area to mine resources. They can then store nutrients within their very large branches during bad conditions for growth.”

Unfortunately, the world’s oldest living thing is experiencing difficulty due to climate change, which is tragic. How can something that has been alive so long be in a decline? Obviously things cannot live forever, but seeing that this resilient plant is in trouble says something very scary about the environment of the Earth. Perhaps everything is in decline? Will the environmental damage stop before it is too late?

Follow me on Google+

Like this article? See more by Kate James at Gather.com

About the Author ()

I am an easy going person who likes to talk and write about news and other current events. I live in a college town and have lots to do.

Leave a Reply